The Pearl found an enthusiastic audience, but it also did an awful lot right both in terms of style and features. It was named for its pearl-like center trackball, which offers a new way to mouse around on screen and allows for easy, one-handed operation. The new controls work so well that users didn't miss the trackwheel and Escape button typically found on a BlackBerry's right side, or mind the Pearl's SureType keyboard, which puts two letters on each key. The Pearl debuted with T-Mobile, but is now offered by Cingular, as well.
While the Pearl can pass itself off as another elegant fashion phone, under the hood its a BlackBerry and it's ready for business. It can receive all the push content that a BlackBerry user needs, and it works flawlessly with the BlackBerry Enterprise Server, another of this year's winners.
When you've got down-time, the Pearl has you covered with three things never before found in a BlackBerry: a camera (1.3megapixel), a media player, and a card slot (microSD) for storing songs or videos (or even work files).
It's gratifying to see the new BlackBerry Pearl being voted as the top handheld device of the year," says Mark Guibert, marketing VP for Research In Motion. "Being recognized in this manner by Datamation readers validates the core strategy behind the BlackBerry platform, which is to provide an end-to-end mobile solution that satisfies users as well as IT managers.
"I think the BlackBerry Pearl is a hit with users because it looks as good as it performs, and its performance lives up to its promise," says Guibert. "It hits a sweet spot in terms of function, battery life, usability, price and design. It delivers the full, renowned BlackBerry experience together with new multimedia features and yet it's incredibly small, stylish, and easy to use. But it's also built on the robust BlackBerry platform and that means IT managers get the security and manageability that they're looking for."
Tom LeClare, Senior Messaging Engineer at Stewart Transaction Solutions, says "Many of our Blackberry users at Stewart Transaction Solutions have chosen to use the Blackberry Pearl because it has all the features of other PDAs, including an MP3 player and camera, while maintaining the superior wireless e-mail system Blackberry provides.
"The Pearl is the best phone of any Blackberry to date, and its small size makes it convenient for a lot of our users as it fits nicely in a shirt pocket," continues LeClare. "The great features the Pearl offers along with the lower monthly costs of T-Mobile make it a great fit for many of our wireless e-mail users."