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BlackBerry's Lustrous Pearl

RIM's Cultured Pearl
Research In Motion (RIMM) is now offering some sweet hand candy to hook all the kids on BlackBerry.

The half-inch-thick Pearl is the first truly stylish entry into the general market by RIM.

Measuring close to two inches wide by four inches tall, the itty-bitty Pearl bears almost no resemblance to the bulky BlackBerrys holstered on the belts of all those thoroughly addicted business types.

As devotees will tell you, BlackBerrys are marvels of mobile emailing machinery.

And the Pearl is the best yet -- not only is it charmingly small and equipped with a big screen, it provides a simple setup for everything from email and photo icons to downloading applications.

In fact, if it weren't for two demerits -- the compromised keypad and slow Internet speeds -- the Pearl might be at the top of the current smartphone class.

The phone retails for $150, after rebate, with a contract.

The Stats

RIM conquered the wireless email space by providing portable devices with mini keyboards that gave people access to their office computer's inbox.

The simple, immediate, one-handed connection to emails and attachments made BlackBerriys indispensable to the worker bees.

In making the Pearl, the Waterloo, Ontario, tech shop didn't sacrifice any of the widely praised BlackBerry email features in adding a camera and music player to the works.

And it would be wrong at this point to focus too much on how weak the camera and music player are, considering the magnitude of the makeover.

The Pearl has no rival when it comes to consumer email phones. The BlackBerry system takes messages sent to work email and delivers them to your phone. This so-called push email system is the true beauty of mobile connections.

With just a few setup steps and additional monthly charges, users can have mail from Web accounts such as Yahoo! sent to the Pearl.

RIM is the current leader in this arena, but Motorola's (MOT) acquisition of Good Technology and Nokia's (NOK - Get Report) purchase of Intellisync promise to bring email to a whole new group of consumers.

Every smartphone has its own strengths.

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