RIM Targets Consumers with Blackberry Pearl

Its name might sound like part of the title for a new Disney film with Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom film, but Canada’s Research in Motion today announced its new Blackberry Pearl multimedia phone will be available next week from U.S. mobile operator T-Mobile, this time aiming to appeal to the consumer market rather than movers and shakers in corporate board rooms and government bureaucracies. Touted as being small and stylish while maintaining the Blackberry reputation as the ruler of wireless email, the Blackberry Pearl comes with 64 MBof built-in flash memory, a music player, a camera, and weighs just 3.1 ounces.

“The BlackBerry Pearl elegantly combines an incredibly small, stylish and full-featured smartphone with the gold standard in wireless email and the result is something special. Through the integration of hardware, software and service, we are able to deliver a mobile experience that stands apart in the industry. We are extremely excited to be launching this breakthrough handset and we look forward to rolling it out around the world with our carrier partners,” said RIM CEO and president Mike Lazaridis in a statement.

The Pearl measures 4.2 inches by 1.97 inches by 0.57 inches, and is a quad-band GSM/GPRS and EDGE-enabled mobile multimedia device with a built-in SureType QWERTY keyboard for fast email and messaging capabilities, a built-in 1/3 megapixel camera, and a 240 by 260 LCD display. The Pearl will it’ll play your music (MP3/MIDI, AMR-NB, AAC/AC+, eAAC+) and video (MPEG-4, H.263), and its got BlueTooth 2.0 wireless networking so it’ll support all the data synchronization and stereo wireless headsets you like—although, of course, USB data transfer is also on board. The Pearl ships with 64 MB of built-in Flash memory, and additional storage available via a MicroSD slot. And RIM says the Peal gets up to 3.5 hoursof talk time and 15 days of standby time on a single battery charge. And with an HTML browser, built-in AOL, Yahoo, MSN, and OCQ instant messaging clients, support for up to 10 personal and corporate email accounts, speaker-independent voice recognition for dialing, speakerphone, and light-sensing technology which adjusts keyboard and screen lighting to match the environment…you will be using that battery.

The Blackberry Pearl will be available in the U.S. from T-Mobile on September 12 and in Canada on Rogers Wireless in October; North American Pearl users will also be able to leverage BlackBerry Maps, a service which provides step-by-step driving directions and works with Blackberry applications so users can send maps via email, launch maps from other applications such as calendars and address books. And, of course, the Pearl supports Blackberry’s Internet Service and Blackberry Enterprise Server, complete with support for multiple accounts and IT policy controls which enable IT department to control camera and memory settings on corporate handsets.

T-Mobile says it the Blackberry Pearl will be available for $199 with a two-year service contract.

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