Flipping out: RIM BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220 debuts

At CTIA Fall 2008, Research in Motion introduces the RIM BlackBerry Pearl 8220, the first BlackBerry with a clamshell design.

Bonnie Cha Former Editor
Bonnie Cha was a former chief correspondent for CNET Crave, covering every kind of tech toy imaginable (with a special obsession for robots and Star Wars-related stuff). When she's not scoping out stories, you can find her checking out live music or surfing in the chilly waters of Northern California.
Bonnie Cha
2 min read
RIM BlackBerry Pearl 8220 RIM

While the fall CTIA show isn't really known for handset announcements, Research in Motion paid no mind and started the show off with a bang by introducing the RIM BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220 on Tuesday night. While much of the attention has turned to the rumored BlackBerry Thunder as of late, the Pearl Flip 8220 shouldn't be forgotten, as it's the first BlackBerry to sport a clamshell design.

The flip phone, which comes in black or red, measures 3.9-inches high by 1.9-inches wide by 0.6-inch deep and weighs 3.5 ounces. It features a 65,536-color, 128x160 pixel external display and front-facing 2-megapixel camera, while you get a 65,536-color, 240x320-pixel TFT display on the inside. As part of the Pearl series, you get the SureType keyboard (groan) and trackball navigator. The BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220 also comes equipped with a 3.5mm headphone jack and an external microSD expansion slot.

Moving onto features, the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900; GPRS/EDGE) Pearl Flip 8220 offers true world roaming, a speakerphone, smart dialing, and background-noise cancellation. Wireless options include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP support. There's no GPS, but the BlackBerry Maps application is onboard to at least provide you with maps and text-based directions.

Supported e-mail solutions include BlackBerry Enterprise, Microsoft Exchange, IMB Lotus, Novell GroupWise as well as POP3 and IMAP4 accounts. There's also an attachment viewer for Word, Excel, PowerPoint files, PDFs, and JPG images.


When you're done working, you can enjoy MP3, WMA, AAC, MPEG4, WMV, and other music and video formats with the built-in media player. In addition, the BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220 has a 2-megapixel camera with flash and video-recording capabilities.

In all, there aren't a whole lot of surprises, as the smartphone keeps very much in line with the RIM BlackBerry Pearl 8120. Research in Motion was a little vague as to release date, but it will be offered by carriers worldwide sometime this fall and the company did confirm that T-Mobile will be one of the U.S. carriers. No word on pricing.

Now, here's the question: Will the flip-phone form factor work for BlackBerry? There's only been a handful of smartphones to come in the clamshell design, such as the Pantech PN-820, but they never seem to really take off. Will the RIM BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220 be any different?