The Pearl 3G 9100 was a major upgrade to the highly successful Pearl portfolio. It added tri-band UMTS/HSDPA 3G, a 3.2-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi and GPS to the original 2G Pearl 8100
which was launched in September 2006.
The phone came with a 20-key condensed qwerty keypad. It was a sister product to the Pearl 9105
, which had a traditional 14-key layout (similar to a standard mobile phone).
Other notable features were a higher resolution screen and inclusion of both GPS and Wi-Fi in the Pearl family for the first time. The Pearl 3G also saw the transition from a trackball to an optical trackpad, which had become a standard feature on RIM's latest generation of hardware.
The Pearl 9100 shipped in the Americas and Australia. It used RIM's SureType software, which allowed text to be entered on its 20-key condensed qwerty keypad.