Research In Motion Ltd , the maker of Blackberry e-mail devices popular among executives, said on Thursday it is pushing into a wider consumer market with the Pearl, its first phone with a camera and music player.
Canada's Rim plans to launch the device with T-Mobile USA, the No. 4 U.S. wireless service, on September 12 and expects a number of other carriers to start selling the product this month and in October, Co-Chief Executive Jim Balsillie said.
The phone has been widely anticipated and investors -- viewing the expansion beyond a predominantly business customer base as a potential boost for Rim's revenue growth -- have pushed Rim's share price up 23 percent in the last month.
According to IDC, Blackberry leads the U.S. market for smart phones, which have computer features such as e-mail, but rivals such as the Treo from Palm Inc and the Q from Motorola Inc already sport cameras and media players.
As service providers around the world peg hopes for future growth on services such as music and video downloads, Rim is hoping to jump on the bandwagon with a device that has a 1.3 megapixel camera, a video and music player and a slot to add extra storage space, as well as its popular e-mail feature.