Smallest BlackBerry gets Wi-Fi boost

Smallest BlackBerry gets Wi-Fi boost

New Pearl 8120 now features Wi-Fi but lacks 3G network support

BlackBerry maker RIM has updated its slimline Pearl handset with Wi-Fi capability, a higher-resolution camera, and enhancements to the handset's browser and user interface. However, it still lacks 3G network support and does not have the built-in GPS of many larger BlackBerry models.

Available immediately through O2, the BlackBerry Pearl 8120 closely resembles the original Pearl 8100, launched last year. It borrows the user interface of the newer BlackBerry Curve and has improved predictive text input that learns from the user's typing style, according to RIM.

The Pearl range is aimed at both business and consumer buyers and is RIM's smallest and lightest BlackBerry, weighing just 91g even with 802.11b/g Wi-Fi added. Because of its small size it uses a SureType keypad with two characters on each key instead of the full qwerty of other BlackBerry models. However, it still supports BlackBerry push email.

Wi-Fi support allows for speedier web browsing, and the Pearl is also capable of making VoIP calls over Wi-Fi, according to RIM, but O2 does not currently support this feature.

It also has an enhanced browser that can display an entire web page on the device's small screen, but lets the user click to zoom in on the area of the page they want to read. Similar capabilities were recently introduced in Opera's Mini 4 mobile browser that runs on a variety of handsets, and in Apple's new iPhone.

The BlackBerry Pearl 8120 is available at a range of prices, depending upon the O2 tariff buyers select.