After huge success with its BlackBerry in the corporate world, Research in Motion (RIM) has released a phone aimed at the regular consumer. The BlackBerry Pearl (free on O2 contract) adds media features and significant style changes to the original BlackBerry's virtues.
The Pearl will attract many buyers for its looks alone, with a depth of just 13mm and glossy black and silver styling. The interface is intuitive, navigated using a roller-ball in the centre of the device. It's ideal for browsing web pages, and proved surprisingly accurate. The keypad is very good. Because space is limited, you'll find two letters on each key, using text recognition software called Sure Type.
The Pearl is the first BlackBerry to feature expandable memory. Although it comes with 64MB of internal memory, you'll be able to upgrade in the form of a Micro-SD card. Access is awkward, however, as the slot is located under the battery. An integrated camera lets you take advantage of the expandable memory. At 1.3-megapixels, it may not be cutting-edge, but it's adequate for quick snaps. You'll also find a media player included.
As expected of a BlackBerry, connectivity is strong. By simply entering your email address and password, you'll be able to receive all your emails directly. It'll work with your regular online email address, such as Yahoo! or Hotmail, and you can also configure your work email. Connectivity is further enhanced by the inclusion of Google and Yahoo! messengers.