Bringing to an end a long series of leaks and rumors, Cingular Wireless has officially announced that it will be rolling out the BlackBerry Pearl over the next few days.
Even though this is a smartphone, not one of RIM’s larger cellular-wireless handhelds, the Pearl still breaks new ground for this company, as it is its first model of any kind with support for playing music and displaying video.
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Cingular isn’t the first carrier to offer this model; it has been available from T-Mobile USA since September. To differentiate it’s version of this device from its competitors’, Cingular is adding support for its Push to Talk service. The Pearl can also be used with TeleNav GPS Navigator, but a Bluetooth GPS receiver is required.
Pricing and Availability
Cingular will offer the BlackBerry Pearl for $199.99 with a mail-in rebate, two-year contract, and appropriate voice and data plans. The least expensive BlackBerry Personal Plan is $29.99/month for unlimited access, but a voice plan is also required.
This smartphone will go on sale Friday, December 1 from Cingular’s web site, through its B2B sales organization, and in some retail stores. Most Cingular stores should have it by Monday, December 4.
Update: The Pearl can now be purchased from Cingular’s web site.
More About the BlackBerry Pearl
In addition to being the first RIM model with multimedia capabilities, the Pearl is also the first BlackBerry with a microSD card slot or a 1.3 megapixel camera.
Despite its consumer focus, the Pearl still offers the features business users have become accustomed to from previous BlackBerries, including support for RIM’s push email system.
Like RIM’s 7100 series of smartphones, this device doesn’t include a full QWERTY keyboard. Instead, it uses this company’s SureType system, in which each key handles two letters.
This is a quad-band GSM/GPRS phone with support for the 2.5G wireless standard EDGE. It also has Bluetooth 2.0.