Far be it from me to tell RIM their business — I bought some of their stock back when it was trading below $75 CAD and haven’t looked back — but their latest handset, the Pearl Flip 8220 announced this week at CTIA, is a bit of a head-scratcher…
Don’t get me wrong here, I think this is a far more attractive handset than the original candybar Pearl, and had I trialled this little number instead of my fugly 8700 I might have stuck it out with RIM just a little longer. I think a clamshell BlackBerry is a stroke of genius and I expect it will sell like gangbusters in North America and would humble even the mighty iPhone in Japan.
If you didn’t already know this the Japanese mobile market is clamshell-crazy — by my entirely unscientific calculations flip phones outsell all other form factors by about a bajillion to one. The folks at RIM have even included a loop on their first flip for a keitai charm, pointed out in the graphic above.
But there’s one bewildering problem: The Pearl Flip doesn’t do 3G.
The BB Bold, which is already available in Canada (suck it, rest of the world!) has tri-band 3G, so I would have expected subsequent models to follow suit. Instead, our Japanese friends are falling over themselves to witness a DoCoMo variant same fugly 8700 that I threw to the ground in disgust before abandoning it.
I suppose the SureType keypad might also not translate so well for Japanese character input, but in all other respects I bet Japan would flip over this latest RIM job.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go turn myself in to the pun police…