handset is anything but a secret, RIM has finally launched the BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220; we just wish they'd kept the name a bit shorter. The handset is RIM's first flip phone, although we're not sure if it'll be an instant success, as the device has a peculiar form factor considering its main feature is email on the go.
It's using RIM's SureType keyboard, which is the same setup seen on other more entry -evel and consumer focused devices from RIM, and although it works quite well, it's not as easy to use as a full-on QWERTY thumb board. The main display has a resolution of 320x240 pixels and there's also a secondary external display.
Other features include WiFi 802.11b/g, Bluetooth 2.0, a 2Megapixel camera with flash, a microSD card slot which accepts up to 16GB memory cards, a 3.5, audio jack and a USB 2.0 interface. The BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220 can also be synced with iTunes via RIM's Media Sync application, although DRM protected music won't work.
Sadly, it's stuck with quad-band GSM with GPRS and EDGE support, so don't expect to do any kind of high-speed data connectivity with it away from a WiFi connection. RIM is teaming up with T-Mobile in the U.S., although at this point in time it's unclear what providers will offer the handset in the rest of the world.
In related news, RIM has launched an instant messaging service for a wide range of BlackBerry devices which will work with AIM and ICQ and RIM will also offer AOL Mail support.
You can find the press release for the BlackBerry Flip 8220 here
and a very basic product page here