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Smarter phone for executives on the move

WORK-N-PLAY: The Pearl smartphone adds `fun' features camera and videoplayer to Blackberry's traditional productivity tools like e-mail.   | Photo Credit: Photo: Special Arrangement

Anand Parthasarathy

New Blackberry Pearl builds on its `productive' image, throws in `fun' features to woo young users

BANGALORE: Now they want you to have your cake and eat it too.

In a radical makeover of its image, as a chunky but useful tool, for mobile executives who want to check their e-mails, when they are not phoning their customers, the Blackberry has shrunk in size, but swollen in `smart' features.

The new Pearl model that has just come to India, is being offered by both Airtel and Hutch. The squarish appearance (for middle-aged `squares' the joke used to go), has been replaced by the slim look adopted by smart phones today.

This one is also light less than 90 gm. The full alphanumeric QWERTY "SureType" keyboard with a hyper-sensitive scroll mouse is there, including Blackberry's clever way of combining two letters to a key. This distinguishes Blackberry from almost all other Smart Phones.

In addition to the expected e-mail and Internet browsing features one expects from a Blackberry and an integration with the company's Enterprise services, the Pearl comes with a 1.3 mega pixel camera with flash, a multiple-format audio-video player with stereo headset and 64 megabytes of memory.

And yes, it is also a normal voice phone with a feature which allows you to speak the number or name of the called person.

Procured from either of the two service providers in India, you will get only small change back for Rs. 25,000. This is not that much different, price-wise from many branded smart phones.

But then, the Blackberry is not all about `paisa vasool,' but also about an in-your-face lifestyle statement, where price matters but not all that much.