Research in Motion continued its push into the consumer market Sept. 10 with the introduction of the company's first flip phone.
The BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220 will be available in the United States through T-Mobile this fall although RIM did not initially disclose pricing details.
Long the dominate player in the enterprise smart phone space, RIM has energetically entered the consumer market to expand its market share. According to RIM, of Waterloo, Ontario, "nonenterprise" phone sales now make up 40 percent of the company's 16 million subscribers. Flip-or clamshell-phones are among the most popular designs among consumers.
The new Pearl Flip features a small screen when closed to preview e-mails, incoming calls and text messages. When opened, the device has a 140-by-320-pixel internal LCD screen for messages, videos and Web surfing. Like all BlackBerry smart phones, the new phone syncs with both enterprise and other e-mail servers. Users are able to access up to 10 supported personal and work e-mail accounts in addition to text messaging and instant messaging services.
The phone also features Wi-Fi connectivity with support for UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access) to extend the device's wireless e-mail and data coverage capabilities. RIM said the phone also supports carrier-enabled calls over home Wi-Fi networks, enterprise wireless deployments and Wi-Fi hot spots.
The phone does not, however, support 3G networks, nor does it have GPS built into the device.
"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," Mike Lazaridis, RIM's president and co-CEO, said in a statement.
To further appeal to consumers, the Pearl Flip allows for syncing non-DRM music with iTunes. It also comes with a microSD/SDHC memory card slot that supports up to 16GB of storage. In addition, the phone comes with a 2-megapixel camera with flash, zoom and video recording, and includes BlackBerry Maps to deliver maps and step-by-step driving directions.
The phone supports voice-activated dialing, MP3 ring tones, smart dialing, conference calls, speed dialing, call forwarding and voice mail attachment playback. It also has a speakerphone feature and supports Bluetooth devices.