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BlackBerry Flips The Script With Pearl Flip 8220

BlackBerry on Wednesday unveiled its first ever flip phone, the BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220.


The first flip form factor BlackBerry comes at a time when RIM is tweaking its traditionally business-only devices and continuing on its path of targeting consumers and corporate users alike by adding a host of multimedia capabilities. Adding a flip phone to its portfolio taps a new user base: flip phone fans that didn't bite at the original Pearl's candy-bar design.

Quick Clicks: Pearl Flip 8220

According to Blackberry, "one quick flip of the handset opens up a world of possibilities with the industry's leading mobile messaging solution and a wide range of impressive Internet and multimedia capabilities, all in one powerful yet approachable smart phone."

The Pearl Flip 8220, BlackBerry said, lets users message, make and receive calls, browse the Web, snap photos, watch video and listen to music.

"It's all in your control with a simple flip," BlackBerry said in a statement.

The Pearl Flip is a quad-band EDGE smart phone that weighs in at 3.6 ouches and measures roughly 3.9 inches by 1.9 inches by 0.7 inches. It features to high-resolution, light-sensing color displays: an external LCD to view incoming calls, emails and text messages without opening the device; and an internal 240 by 320 LCD display for messages, video and Web browsing.

"The popularity of BlackBerry smart phones has grown tremendously around the world and the introduction of this exciting new flip phone will help extend the reach of the BlackBerry platform even further," said RIM president and Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis in a statement. "The BlackBerry Pearl Flip is a full-featured smart phone with a unique and friendly design and it is a natural choice for flip phone users who want to start doing more with their phone than just talk."

The smart phone "flips open and cradles the face naturally and comfortably during calls," BlackBerry said. It offers Speaker Independent Voice Recognition (SIVR) for Voice Activated Dialing (VAD), support for mp3 ring tones, smart dialing, conference calling, speed dialing, call forwarding, voicemail attachment playback and enhanced background noise cancellation. It also features a speakerphone and Bluetooth 2.0 support.

The Pearl Flip's removable and rechargeable 900 mAhr battery provides four hours of talk time and more than 14 days of standby time.

Along with offering a slick smart phone form factor, the BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220 also packs in all of the messaging features users expect from BlackBerry.

The handset features a large SureType QWERTY keyboard for messaging and dialing. It also features integrated access to BlackBerry wireless services. Users can access up to 10 personal and work email accounts, send and receive text and instant messages, and connect on popular social networking sites, like Facebook.

The preloaded DataViz Documents to Go software suite lets users edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files from the device. The Pearl Flip is supported by BlackBerry Internet Service, BlackBerry Unite!, BlackBerry Professional Software and BlackBerry Enterprise Server to integrate with corporate email systems and IT policy controls.

On the multimedia side, the BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220 has an advanced media player to view pictures, listen to music and watch video. It also works with the new BlackBerry Media Sync application that can synchronize with Apple iTunes digital music and features a microSD/SDHC card slot to support up to 16 GB of storage. Support for High Speed USB 2.0 enables file transfers between desktops and the device and BlackBerry Desktop Manager includes Roxio Media Manager for BlackBerry to manage music and video files. Photos albums can be created and pictures can be edited using Roxio Photosuite 9 LE.

Additional features include support for thousands of business and consumer applications; a 2 megapixel camera with flash, zoom and video recording; BlackBerry Maps; and an enhanced HTML browser to view Web pages in either column or page view. The browser supports TRSP for watching streaming video from mobile YouTube and the device supports Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g and UMA, meaning the device can work on home and corporate Wi-Fi networks along with Wi-Fi hotspots.

The BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220 is expected to be available from several global carriers in the fall. It will first be available through T-Mobile in the U.S. Pricing has yet to be announced.

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