updated 09:00 am EDT, Thu September 7, 2006
BlackBerry Pearl Announced
Its existence had already been established weeks earlier by leaked photos and unofficial details, but today the BlackBerry Pearl was officially announced by its developer Research In Motion. The Canadian company's new smartphone breaks from traditional BlackBerry duties by shifting attention towards its media functions, including music and video playback of content on microSD cards as well as a 1.3-megapixel camera. Significantly, the Pearl abandons the scroll wheel for a trackball that the company claims is better-suited to the phone's expanded role. A relatively new addition is BlackBerry Maps: users can get directions to most locations in North America, including for contacts listed in the phone address book. The BlackBerry Pearl will be available September 12th for T-Mobile customers in the US, a week earlier than expected; Canadians will have the phone as an option from Rogers Wireless in October with European and Latin American carriers following shortly afterwards. Click through for full-size profile photos of the new phone.