New BlackBerry Pearl Slider in the Works


First, AT&T dropped the price of the BlackBerry Torch 9800 with two-year contract to a mere $99 and now rumors are circulating that a smaller, Torch like BlackBerry smartphone is in the works. Yes, it will slide like the Torch but possibly have a T9 keyboard and go for less than the Bold 9700 through carriers. BBLeaks has a source that first broke the story on the Pearl 3G with a T9 traditional keyboard (the Pearl 3G 9105) and now is claiming that this new BlackBerry Slider is in the works up at Research In Motion’s (RIM) labs.

While little hard facts are known about this new BlackBerry Slider, expect it to be based on the Pearl series of BlackBerrys instead of the Bold series like the Torch was. This also means that it might not have a touchscreen like the Torch series to save costs. BlackBerry OS 6 was really designed for touchscreen devices even though it still works alright with non-touchscreens. I don’t know how much success RIM will have with a smaller, cheaper slider since Android is quickly gaining ground in the price ranges that feature phones used to dominate. Would you rather have a low-end Android smartphone with Android Market, a touchscreen and all the little features that Android brings with it or a low-end BlackBerry without a touchscreen? That’s not a big decision unless you’ve got an undying love for all things BlackBerry.

This brings me to my next point. Why is RIM building so many models? A quick look at the most popular smartphones by sales shows that touchscreens are a must, and horizontal QWERTY keyboards that slide out are extremely popular. RIM has not produced a horizontal slider yet, despite having patents related to such a device, so why build a cheap Torch 9800? The Torch is already got its price slashed in half for the holiday season because of poor sales. Would you want a stripped down Torch for $50 or whatever RIM plans on selling this for? It’s not like it can play Adobe Flash content yet…

So, a cheap BlackBerry Slider got your interest? As RIM realizes  that what it considers its flagship smartphones (the Torch 9800 and Bold 9760) are far less capable than what HTC, Motorola, Samsung and Apple are putting out near the same price is it going to try to grab the low-end market? If it is, then it will have a rude awakening. Android is gunning for that market already and most young people don’t care if their phone has a BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard—they all grew up on T9 so virtual, touchscreen keyboards and cheaper slide-out keyboards are just fine with them.

Let me know what you think!

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