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Blackberry Flips Script With Flip Model

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Research In Motion sets sights on retail consumers.

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Research in Motion (RIMM) plans to enter the retail market this fall with a clamshell flip version of its BlackBerry Pearl smartphone.

The BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220 offers multimedia features such as a video and music player and a 2-megapixel camera. Like the original Pearl, the new flip model includes a Web browser and a SureType Qwerty keyboard.

The new device weighs 3.6 ounces and measures about 3.9 inches by 1.9 inches by 0.7 inches. BlackBerry says the Pearl Flip offers voice activated dialing, conference calling, speed dialing, call forwarding and background noise cancellation.

"The popularity of BlackBerry smartphones has grown tremendously around the world and the introduction of this new flip phone will help extend the reach of the BlackBerry platform even further," Mike Lazaridis, president and co-CEO of Research In Motion, said in a
prepared statement. "The BlackBerry Pearl Flip is a full-featured smartphone."

BlackBerry's effort to expand beyond its business base to retail consumers puts the company in direct competition with Apple's (AAPL) iPhone and industry stalwarts Motorola (MOT), a pioneer of the flip phone, Samsung, which isn't publicly traded in the US, and Nokia (NOK).

T-Mobile will be the exclusive stateside launch carrier of the new flip BlackBerry. Pricing details weren't released and will be available later.

Research In Motion released the initial candy-bar-shaped version of the Pearl in September 2006. It sold well and drove the company's strong results in 2007.

Research In Motion has about 16 million subscribers. It says small and medium businesses and individuals now represent about 40% of its customers. The BlackBerry, known affectionately as the "crackberry" among its devoted users, has long been popular among executives, lawyers and other professionals who rely on the device to send e-mail
securely.

The new device also offers a speakerphone and Bluetooth 2.0 for use with hands-free headsets, stereo headsets, car kits and other peripherals such as a GPS receiver.

The removable and rechargeable battery provides 4 hours of talk time and about 14 days of standby time. The 2 megapixel camera includes flash, zoom and video recording.

Further information on the new device is available at BlackBerryPearl.com.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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