In this world of endless technology spills RIM had no chance whatsoever of keeping its first ever clamshell BlackBerry under wraps and surely enough it didn't, but now the Canadian company has fessed up and shown off the latest - and possibly most radical (until the touchscreen model comes) - addition to its famed smartphone line.
Officially dubbed the 'BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8820' it is an EDGE based midrange phone with WiFi (b/g), Bluetooth 2.0, a SureType Qwerty keyboard and features a large QVGA internal screen as well as the pre-requisite secondary external LCD making it easy to preview emails, text messages, phones calls and the like.
Little golden nuggets in there include Voice Activated Dialling (VAD), MP3 ring tones, Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint editing directly on the handset and support for BlackBerry Media Sync which cheekily let's BlackBerry owners sync their handsets with iTunes just as if they owned one of Apple's devices.
Negatives are an entry level 2MP camera, the lack of 3G and a/GPS while storage comes via the microSD/SDHC memory expansion slot rather than from any significant native memory. Talktime is also quoted at just four hours though standby is claimed to last up to 14 days (no doubt with everything other than the phone switched off).
Overall, I'm not entirely convinced the Pearl adds a great deal to the BlackBerry line other than appease those still obsessed with handset formats from the end of the last century but hooray for choice. It makes us what we are, or something...