RIM overhauls BlackBerry keyboard with Pearl 3G

The BlackBerry Pearl 3G with one of those simple keyboards
The BlackBerry Pearl 3G with one of those simple keyboards

Update: read our Hands on: Blackberry Pearl 3G review.

RIM has announced a new BlackBerry device with a radically different keyboard - the Pearl 3G.

Set for a May UK release date on various networks, the new BlackBerry Pearl 3G will come in two separate flavours.

The Pearl 3G 9105 features an alphanumeric keyboard - 14 keys set out in the 'traditional' layout of three letters per key.

The 9100 will be more conventional for BlackBerry users: using two letters per key, although both use the SureType system (similar to T9 predictive text) for speedy messaging.

Pocket friendly

Both models feature a 360x400 resolution display, and have a 624MHz processor with 256MB internal memory, and both only weigh 93g.

There's also a 3.2MP camera popped on the back, with digital zoom, autofocus and a flash - with dedicated media buttons proving the Pearl 3G is designed to be a consumer-oriented phone.

It's also the first BlackBerry to feature support for the superfast 802.11n Wi-Fi connection, helping future-proof the phone against the oncoming tidal wave of tech innovation.

Sadly, there's no mention of the Bold 9650 coming to the UK - despite supporting the GSM frequencies, it seems this is a UK only model for now.