BlackBerry’s (Slightly) Bewildering Flip

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…


About Andrew

Mobile phones, Linux and copyright reform. Those go together, right?
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2 Responses to BlackBerry’s (Slightly) Bewildering Flip

  1. Ed Miller says:


    When word broke about RIM coming out with a flip phone, I remember reading that Canadian users flip over that type of phone. RIM should roll up a winner here.

    Amongst my cell-toting friends, I’m one of the few swimming without a flipper (my LG’s a slide, something that you see less and less of these days). Based on what I’ve seen, the flip phone handles being dropped and other forms of abuse much better than the other forms–a definite selling point given how small phones are getting.

    The sharp-looking Razr flip phone is probably the most common phone I see on the streets.


  2. AC says:

    And that same RAZR is notorious for having the worst software of any mobile phone EVAR!!1!

    Buyer beware…

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