BlackBerry Pearl 3G: An Inside Look with Product Manager Joseph Gordon


BlackBerry Pearl 3G

WES 2010 is off to an exciting start following the announcement of the BlackBerry® Pearl™ 3G smartphone and the BlackBerry® Bold™ 9650 smartphone. Read on for my interview with BlackBerry Pearl 3G Product Manager Joseph Gordon, and stay tuned for my interview with BlackBerry Bold 9650 Product Manager Troy Young later this week.

Who are you and what do you do?

I am a Senior Product Manager on the Handheld Product Management team at RIM, which means I am responsible for the full lifecycle of a BlackBerry smartphone.  This includes the development and launch of new products, plus the in-market activities and end-of-life plans.  We interface with the engineering, manufacturing and marketing teams to help ensure that RIM is delivering the right product to the right markets at the right time.  Ultimately, we are the voice of the customer to the organization.

Or, as I tell my family, we get to play with all the new toys =D.

What were your key responsibilities Product Managing the BlackBerry Pearl 3G Smartphone?

Product Management responsibilities vary widely over time, which makes it all the more exciting!  Early on, I worked with our Industrial Design and Engineering teams as we focused on the best combination of design elements and features to allow RIM to bring a successful product to our target market.  At the same time I participated in marketing activities to help determine just who that target market was, and had conversations with many of our carrier partners to understand their views.  With this finalized, I continue to interface closely with Engineering as we bring the product and its different variations into launch.  I also coordinated with our Marketing and Sales teams as we developed the messages and carrier plans that will take the BlackBerry Pearl 3G story to the public.  Finally, during launch I am developing plans with our press and marketing teams on specific activities (like this blog post!) and supporting the manufacturing and supply teams to make sure we deliver a quality product on time.

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.

How is the BlackBerry Pearl 3G smartphone different from its predecessors?

It’s both different and similar.  This is the first BlackBerry Pearl smartphone to have both GPS and Wi-Fi® (including 802.11 n!) first with HSDPA support, it has the best display we’ve put on a device this small, has plenty of memory for downloading applications from BlackBerry App World™ , and we have added our new optical trackpad as well.  The BlackBerry Pearl 3G smartphone also has more media-oriented features like media keys on top of the device, a more powerful 3.2 MP camera supporting new features like VGA recording and image stabilization, and landscape playback to provide a better video experience. The BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9105 smartphone is also the first BlackBerry smartphone ever to have a traditional phone keyboard for those not as familiar using QWERTY keyboards.  But it’s still recognizably a BlackBerry Pearl smartphone, featuring a similar styling and profile.

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.

BlackBerry Pear 3G 9105

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.

Are you faster on the condensed QWERTY or the phone keypad? =D

Before using my first BlackBerry Pearl smartphone (the 8100) I was a heavy texter on a traditional phone, and lightening fast.  After a week using the condensed-QWERTY keyboard I was just as fast, and now when I try to swap back and forth it takes me awhile to adapt, so I spend more time on the BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9100 smartphone.  It’s really about what you are most comfortable with, which is the whole reason we are supporting both model types

Ok then, talk to me about the evolution of SureType for the BlackBerry Pearl 3G smartphone.

SureType has been evolving in three key ways over the last few years.  The word completion and selection functionality have continued to be expanded based on user feedback, especially as we have extended it to different platforms like the BlackBerry Storm smartphone line.  Additional languages and alphabets continue to be added to the available list, allowing us to support more countries.  Finally, we have now added new support for the traditional mobile phone keypad, easing the transition of feature phone users to the exciting capabilities of a BlackBerry smartphone.

When the first BlackBerry Pearl smartphone launched, there were only two types of BlackBerry smartphones. Full-QWERTY BlackBerry smartphones like the BlackBerry 8700 smartphone, and SureType smartphones like the BlackBerry 7100 smartphone (my very first BlackBerry smartphone!). Now we have touch-screen BlackBerry smartphones and the BlackBerry Curve smartphone line. Where does the new BlackBerry Pearl 3G smartphone fit into the family?

The BlackBerry Pearl 3G smartphone still fits the same two roles the BlackBerry Pearl smartphone line has had since its inception.  The first is to provide a powerful, but slim and attractive, alternative to the full-QWERTY products for those who prefer a smaller device. The second is to serve as the introductory BlackBerry smartphone for people who have never used a smartphone, initiating them to the power available in a BlackBerry smartphone but in a package that is both more familiar and less intimidating.

Click the link to learn more about the BlackBerry Pearl 3G smartphone.

About Douglas Soltys

Word Czar. Web 7.0 (in beta). Blogs and tweets and wonders.

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  • The Tall Guy

    Restricting the European market to the 9105 is a mistake and doesn't credit those of us who have been using Pearls for a couple of years now with any intelligence. I will be sorely disappointed if we don't get to see the 9100 in the UK and may find myself heading in an iPhone direction.

  • dylan

    when will it be launching to Bell?

  • Bo

    Well Tall guy at least the European market exists. The African one apparently doesnt… I live in Europe and Africa and have been using both pearls and curves for about 5 years now and know plenty people on both continents who also do.

  • An Inside Look at the BlackBerry Pearl 3G from RIM… | - BlackBerry News and Reviews

    […] into both the Pearl 3G models being designed and even re-invented. The interview comes from the Official BlackBerry blog, where RIM’s very own Product Manager Joesph Gordon talks about his thoughts of both the […]

  • stephane

    anyway you re not alone i will find some body else

  • Luis Fidalgo

    Dear all,
    I'm travel a lot and I whant to buy in US the new BB pearl 3G.
    Does it work perfectly in Europe Spain/Portugal?
    Thanks for your prompt answer.

  • BlackBerryHelp_Pavel


    You would need to check with your carrier to see if it going to be supported on their network.

    Thank you.

  • Barnz0512

    Nice one. Thanks for the infos.

  • Aaronofori

    how much is the blackberry pearl any1

  • Isaac M Francisco

    I live in africa

    Cna some one tell me how much does it cost

  • Hope&amy&walshy

    heyyaaaa its hope amy&walshy :D we love blackberrys an we go dvhs :D ;-)

  • Douglas tr0n Soltys

    I Isaac,

    Go here: select your country and then select the 'Smartphones' tab to see if it's available in your country and for more product info.

  • Douglas tr0n Soltys

    I Isaac,

    Go here: select your country and then select the 'Smartphones' tab to see if it's available in your country and for more product info.

  • Prashant

    Should blacklist the Blackberry & Research in Motion product immediately

  • Prashant

    Dear Sir/ Madam,

    Great article on Bloomberg Website with nice option that the Blackberry is coming up. This shows that we are no where behind in the world of technology. However, I have one nice experience to share with that probably will change your perception the way it happened with me. My initial sentences were my comments before but after interacting with so called professionals of Blackberry team including dealers, I have changed my opinion from great services to worse services.

    I would not use any abusive word however the experience that I had with Blackberry team compelled me to do so.

    I must share with you that I bought the Blackberry set Model 8900 Curve in the month of March 2010 and while using the same I encountered with couple of issues that were escalated with the respective dealers and when tried to reached higher authorities – could never get any contact details or forum to bring the issue up. Initial days of my complaint I was convinced by my dealers that set itself would be replaced. You would be shocked to hear that this assurance is now almost two months old. Each time I am trying to follow up, either the call is ignored or same fake assurance with no result, still as a customer I am in dark. Surprisingly I recommended the same model to my colleagues and bought almost 20 sets of the same.

    I can well imagine if this sort of treatment they can do with undersigned then what will happen to the individual customer.

    With great respect to Bloomberg article that I read on website (bloomberg), I felt like sharing my experience too with you as could not control my emotions that on one side I am suffering from the behavior of Blackberry associates and on other side your article shows lot of positivity about the company and its performance.

    You may contact me on +919051041414 for any sort of clarification in this regard. I do hope that this matter can be further reached to the higher authority so I will get with justice as early as possible.

    Please do find my sincere apologies incase I have written any harsh words.


    Prashant Srivastava
    Sr Manager Information Technology
    (in one of the reputed hospitality sector/ chain)

  • AK

    The 9100 has been launched on Bell for a fair while now.

  • Princessguevarra

    Hi there1 Why cant I use my twitter and facebook on my BB?

  • Sonamkalra

    when will it be available in india?

  • BlackBerryHelp_Pavel


    What is happening when you try to use the applications? Do you have an active data plan with your wireless service provider. Have you downloaded and installed the applications?

    Thank you

  • LAB

    Pearl is soft as butter. Had mine for less than a month, already have a screen fracture. Didn't even have any trauma, it was just in my pocket, leaned against a counter, now its toast. Nice design guys. Ever other phone I've had could be dropped on concrete and survive. Not this new pearl.

  • E_steinberg

    When are going to see this on a US carrier???? T-Mobile preferably. Otherwise I'm going to have to leave Blackberry after over 10 years (per phone versions) and go with the Samsung Vibrant.

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