Verizon launching BlackBerry Pearl Flip

Verizon Wireless will launch Research In Motion's BlackBerry Pearl Flip phone, becoming the latest carrier to sport the clamshell smartphone.

The phone has a 2-megapixel camera, a SureType Qwerty keyboard, microSD slot capable of holding up to 16 GB and, of course BlackBerry Internet service and BlackBerry Enterprise Server support. The Pearl Flip also has visual voicemail and is VZ Navigator-capable. The phone will cost $129.99 with a new, two-year customer agreement after a $70 mail-in rebate. Verizon said the Pearl Flip will be available starting June 19.

The device yet again signals Verizon's close ties to BlackBerry maker Research In Motion. Indeed, Verizon's buy-one-get-one BlackBerry promotion has been cited as a primary reason for the recent successes of both companies; Verizon reported a whopping 1.3 million customer additions in the first quarter, and RIM's BlackBerry Curve passed Apple's iPhone as the best-selling consumer smartphone during the same period, according to NPD Group.

T-Mobile USA became the first U.S. carrier to launch the Pearl Flip last fall.

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