RIM unveils its first 3G BlackBerry Pearl

Pearl 9100 3G smartphone coming in June

RIM has unveiled its first 3G-enabled BlackBerry Pearl handset and looks set to roll it out across all four main mobile phone networks in the UK by June.

The handset offers a "stepping stone" for mobile phone users accustomed to tapping out text messages on their numeric keypads and who aren't sold on the idea of switching to a Qwerty keypad but who like the idea of the enhanced functionality of a smartphone. The Pearl 9100 3G is designed to appeal to the 90 percent of mobile phone users who have never used a smartphone and who don't want to learn a new way of typing messages, RIM's spokesman told PC Advisor.

The handset is designed to be used one-handed like a regular phone and has a numerical keypad plus a forward and a back key. Text entry is assisted by RIM's SureType technology - a form of predictive text that works out which of two or more character options assigned to the button you press is the one you want. As the user continues to type, the software makes sense of what's being entered.

Our initial tests during today's demonstration of the handset didn't much bear this out - selecting Compose Email, for example, didn't immediately switch to letters rather than numbers for the 'to' field - but as Qwerty keypad users, numeric keypad-based entry is no longer second nature. As RIM point out, there are millions of mobile phone text-messagers for whom accurate, one-handed text message entry does come naturally.

Hardware specifications of the BlackBerry Pearl 3G include a 624MHz processor, 3.2Mp camera, 256MB of onboard memory, 3G, wireless n networking, Bluetooth and the ability to take up to 16GB microSD cards.

Although contract and tariffs details 'forthcoming, a RIM spokesman demonstrating the handset to PC Advisor today said he expected the Pearl 3G to be offered by T-Mobile, O2, Vodafone and Orange. The demonstration handset we were shown was using a Vodafone network SIM card, but we were told not to read anything in particular into that in terms of which mobile operator was likely to be first to offer its customers the slimline smartphone.

The Pearl line of BlackBerry smartphones was first introduced in late 2006. It became famous for its glowing orb navigation ball just beneath its screen. However, over time customers reported this ball became grubby and less responsive. Last year Research In Motion unveiled a new means of navigating BlackBerry menus when a half-centimetre square touch-sensitive trackpad was used in place of the trackball. This trackpad is nippy and responsive and has gone down well with customers.

The RIM BlackBerry Pearl 3G was designed in the same factory in Bochum, Germany where the Bold 8900 handset was dreamt up. This was the first model to come with the new trackpad navigator. RIM says several of the "design cues"" for the Pearl 3G have been taken from the Bold 8900 and Curve 8520. The slim, approximately 13mm thin chassis and silver metal accent around the perimeter are reminiscent of its larger siblings. It weighs 93g.

See also:

BlackBerry reviews

BlackBerry zone

Compare best mobile phone deals

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags smartphonesBlackberryRIM BlackBerry

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Rosemary Hattersley

PC Advisor (UK)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?