updated 02:25 pm EDT, Thu November 1, 2007
BB Pearl 8130 at Verizon
Verizon today formalized the launch of the BlackBerry Pearl 8130, the company's first Pearl model. The design holds close to the reference model with a 2-megapixel camera, 3G data access through EVDO, and an externally accessible microSDHC card slot that holds up to 8GB of music, videos, and other data. The candybar phone's signature GPS is intact and can be used with Verizon's VZ Navigator GPS service to find routes using NavTeq-supplied maps. New software on the phone lets it stream video over the web using 3GPP from sites such as YouTube's mobile website.
The enhanced Pearl should be available first online on November 3rd, where it will sell for $250 with a rebate and a two-year plan. Retail Verizon stores and resellers can anticipate receiving their units on November 8th. One-year and contract-free prices were not included with the announcement.
To help spur sales of the 8130 and earlier devices, Verizon has also introduced lower-cost BlackBerry plans for its phones. Anyone with a Nationwide plan can add an E-mail and Web for BlackBerry extension that provides data access to the phone for $30 per month, including adapting as many as ten of the user's e-mail accounts to the BlackBerry's "push" e-mail network; those who only need the data features can pay $35 per month, Verizon says. The plans should be available immediately.