The idea behind the Pearl 3G is to tempt buyers that have been considering a smartphone, but could not justify the price, according to RIM. However, no details have yet been given on which networks will carry it or what tariffs will apply to the device, which is set to arrive sometime in May.
As can be seen from the pictures, the new Pearl is very compact and weighs just 93g. Despite this, it features the GPS, 3G and Wi-Fi support you would expect of any smartphone, and is in fact the first Blackberry to support 802.11n.
While RIM has decided to offer US customers a SureType keyboard on their version of the Pearl 3G, UK and European buyers get a plain numeric keypad, perhaps because RIM does not want to put off buyers here who might be trading up from a feature phone.
However, it uses the same predictive software as the SureType models to make keying in text easier, and the handset also features the touchpad navigation control introduced on the Blackberry Bold.
The Pearl also features the updated user interface and much of the styling of the Qwerty-equipped Bold model, seen alongside it in this picture.
In the very brief time we had to play around with the Pearl 3G we found it very responsive, and it does in fact feel like a Bold shrunk down to the size of a standard mobile.
We expect to have a full review of the BlackBerry Pearl 3G at a later date, once RIM has units available.
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