Breaking down the BlackBerry Pearl 3G, Bold 9650

Pearl 3G will be first RIM smartphone to support 802.11n

Research in Motion isn't turning the smartphone world on its head with its two new releases, but is rather refining its own product lines.

In other words, there's nothing revolutionary about the BlackBerry Pearl 3G or the BlackBerry Bold 9650 smartphones, just upgrades to devices that BlackBerry users are already familiar with. All that said, it's still worth our time to break down each smartphone's core elements since they do offer some key new features that BlackBerry fans have longed to see.

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Connectivity: The Pearl 3G has GSM-based HSPA connectivity and is also the first BlackBerry device to support Wi-Fi standard 802.11n, an enterprise-class Wi-Fi standard that can achieve throughput of more than 100Mbps. The Bold 9650, meanwhile, will feature CDMA-based EV-DO 3G connectivity in North America while relying on GSM-based HSPA everywhere else in the world. Like the Pearl 3G, the Bold 9650 has Wi-Fi connectivity, but only to the less-advanced 802.11b and 802.11g standards. Both handsets are also compatible with Bluetooth v2.1 and have tethered modems.

Size: The Pearl 3G is the smallest BlackBerry device released to date, as it checks in at 4.25 inches tall, 1.96 inches wide and 0.52 inches deep while weighing in at 3.3 ounces. The Bold 9650 is a more standard-sized BlackBerry device, checking in at 4.43 inches tall, 2.4 inches wide and 0.56 inches deep while weighing in at 4.8 ounces. In terms of display screens, the Pearl 3G has a screen size of 2.6 inches with a resolution of 360 x 400 pixels while the Bold 9650 has a screen size of 2.44 inches with a resolution of 480 x 360 pixels.

Interface: While RIM has tried to make its way into the consumer market with its touchscreen Storm series, the Bold 9650 and the Pearl 3G find RIM stick with its bread-and-butter interfaces of physical keyboards and navigation trackballs. The Bold 9650 features a full QWERTY keyboard and the Pearl 3G features a condensed 20-key QWERTY keyboard.

Other features: Both devices include 3.2 MP cameras, batteries that provide estimated talk time of up to five hours and built-in GPS functionality integrated with the BlackBerry Maps application. The Pearl features 256MB of flash memory with expandable memory of up to 32MB. The Bold 9650 has 512MB of flash memory along with a media card of 2GB and expandable memory of up to 32MB.

Read more about wireless & mobile in Network World's Wireless & Mobile section.

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