BlackBerry Pearl aimed at consumers

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BlackBerry Pearl aimed at consumers

RIM in good looking handset shocker.

Research In Motion's latest BlackBerry phone will be aimed at consumers, not business users. 

RIM has ditched its traditional numeric naming scheme, dubbing the new model the BlackBerry Pearl. 

The Pearl is the thinnest BlackBerry yet, measuring just 14.5mm, and weighs 89g. It is also the first model to include a camera (capable of taking pictures up to 1.3-megapixels) indicating its consumer rather than business focus.

The device features 64MB of internal memory and can be expanded up to 2GB via MicroSD cards.

Despite its consumer styling, promotional material for the Pearl reads: 'I promise I'm a BlackBerry.'

"It really is our attempt to take BlackBerry out of the boardroom," said Larry Conlee, chief operating officer at RIM.

"We listened to the research, we talked to focus groups and our carrier partners and we asked what was needed to take BlackBerry out of the boardroom and to a broader audience.

"They said first of all it's got to be a BlackBerry. It's got to be reliable, it's got to be robust, it's got to be designed well, have a good look and feel and a user interface I like.

"But it's also got to have a camera, it's got to have multimedia. It's got to have the things that I also need outside work."

The traditional side-mounted thumbwheel has been replaced by a roller ball situated below the screen.

"We wondered how to make it smaller, as well as change or improve the interface," explained Conlee.

"The thumbwheel on the side takes up a lot of room. Our engineers have been working hard and we came up with the trackball. If you look at the device the trackball reminds you of a pearl, hence the name."

The BlackBerry Pearl will be available in Europe in October on a variety of networks.
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