WES is off to a great start with the announcement of two new BlackBerrys: the Pearl 3G and the Bold 9650. Inside BlackBerry sat down with the Pearl 3G Product Manager Joseph Gordon, to ask a few questions about the device.
The interview starts off with a CV of Joseph Gordon, but the meat of the interview is about the device itself. What were you trying to achieve for the next generation BlackBerry Pearl smartphone?
We wanted to make a revolutionary leap the same way we did with the original BlackBerry Pearl 8100 smartphone, which at the time was our most powerful BlackBerry smartphone despite the smaller size. The same is true with the BlackBerry Pearl 3G smartphone, as we have worked hard to pack all the power of the BlackBerry platform today in a compact package, with the BlackBerry Pearl 3G being the thinnest BlackBerry smartphone to date. We didn’t want to compromise on style, and we haven’t, as the BlackBerry Pearl 3G smartphone incorporates some of the elements and design of our premium product lines.
There are a few tibits from the interview that you won’t find in the press releases, such as where the inspiration for the device came from.
The BlackBerry Pearl 3G smartphone design seems to amalgam pieces of many familiar BlackBerry smartphones. What was your inspiration for the look of the BlackBerry Pearl 3G smartphone design?
The BlackBerry Pearl 3G smartphone had two of the best possible inspirations: the BlackBerry Pearl 8100 smartphone and the BlackBerry Bold 9700 smartphone. We wanted a handset that was true to the form of the original BlackBerry Pearl 8100 smartphone, but brought in some of the high-end styling of the BlackBerry Bold smartphone line. Also key was how it felt in the hand: we wanted something that was comfortable and easy to use, particularly in one-handed situations, which is very popular with the younger demographic. Like both products, it combines power and elegance to deliver not only an attractive smartphone but one that can handle whatever applications the customer needs.
Also included in the interview is some talk about the reasons for the multiple keyboard styles on the Pearl 3G.
As you noted, the BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9105 smartphone has also been announced, featuring a traditional phone keypad. What was the reason for this decision and what markets is the smartphone intended for?
First, both models use SureType software – which actually refers to the word completion software that underlies both the 9100 model and the 9105 models of BlackBerry Pearl 3G smartphone. We call the keypad on the BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9100 smartphone a “condensed QWERTY”, as it takes our familiar full QWERTY layout and condenses it to only 20 keys, allowing for a smaller smartphone. And we’ve continued to grow the capabilities of SureType and it now supports both our full QWERTY smartphones and the traditional phone keypad as well.
The main reason we decided to launch the BlackBerry Pearl 3G smartphone in two different models was to address the different stages of smartphone acceptance around the world. In the Americas or parts of Asia Pacific where full QWERTY handsets are very common, it made sense bring out a sleek, compact smartphone with a condensed-QWERTY keyboard. Elsewhere, such as Europe and the majority of Asia, traditional phones are still much more common than smartphones, so we decided to introduce a BlackBerry Pearl smartphone with a 14-key keyboard that customers would be more familiar with.
Oh cool, I didn’t realize SureType was so versatile. You learn something new every day at RIM I guess. =D Are there any other notable differences between the two models?
The only other difference is due to the models being targeted at different markets: the BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9105 smartphone will not only support the Latin alphabet but will also have keypad versions in Arabic, Russian, Greek, Hebrew, Simplified Chinese, and other alphabets.