Research in Motion expands its reach deeper into the mainstream with the release of the new "Pearl" smartphone. The phone does not quite follow the security focus that made the Blackberry brand famous: Pearl is much more a lifestyle multimedia smartphone with an attached secure push email feature.
Remove the "Blackberry" brand from the black and silver front of the Pearl and you could easily imagine the new phone as being a new Nokia or Sony Ericsson flagship phone. Yes, there are some clues that identify the device as a Blackberry, such as the key layout that has been carried over from the 7100 series, but no other Blackberry was closer to the traditional multimedia phone than the Pearl 8100.
The device integrates a 65K color display that offers a resolution of 240 x 260 pixel. Navigation through the menus is simplified by a track ball and ESC/Menu keys, there's a 1.3 megapixel digital camera, support for polyphonic, MP3 and MIDI ringtones, as well as a media player that can play MP3 audio or MP4 video that is stored either on the 64 MB integrated flash memory or on a microSD card that can be inserted in the memory card slot of the Pearl. Other features include voice activated dialing, Bluetooth capability, Internet support and a map service.
The quad-band phone will be available through T-Mobile and Rogers Wireless starting on 12 September.