In view of the impending roll-out of 3G networks in India, Research In Motion (RIM), maker of BlackBerry smartphones, on Thursday launched a 3G version of its compact phone, Pearl.

RIM’s Global Chief Marketing Officer, Keith Pardy, told reporters that the new model has got the “highest screen resolution and fastest” and drew parallels, stating “it is like a power-packed Ferrari engine put into a small smartphone.”

India is the third market worldwide, after Canada and Australia, where RIM has launched the new phone. “You will witness continued investments and commitments...we will continue to localise our content with newer applications which is part of our Indian investment” Mr. Pardy said.

Bullish on the Indian market, RIM’s Managing Director in India, Frenny Bawa, said this market which sees 18 million new subscribers added every month “is definitely exciting”.

On RIM’s forecasts for the Indian market, she said, “The smartphones market is growing at 60 per cent annually and we would like to participate in that.”

The new phone comes in two variants — a 14-key conventional keypad and a 20-key QWERTY keypad. The company refused to divulge details regarding its pricing or when it would be available on the stores.

Mr. Pardy sounded unperturbed by the string of arrivals of BlackBerry rip-offs hitting the Indian market. “They can imitate the hardware part of it, but not our software, service capabilities with applications like the BB messenger and security,” he said.