The Blackberry Pearl T-Mobile cellphone tops the list of high tech gadget gifts. Its predecessor, the Blackberry 7100, remains  popular with busy professionals. It's all about remote email access: The high-speed wireless system delivers emails to people in high-pressure business quickly, and usually flawlessly (I've noticed a tendency for the Blackberry 7100 to freeze up, particularly during peak hours). This new version, the Blackberry Pearl 8100, shows RIM's attempts to get in on the Sidekick/Treo's casual user-type consumer end of the market. 

The Pearl replaces the 7100's scroll wheel with a centrally-located scroll button, and comes loaded with multimedia capabilities, digital camera for quick pics, much faster internet browsing capabilities, and an SD slot - that's a Secure Digital reader for flash memory cards, good for storing MP3s. The Blackberry Pearl is also astonishingly streamlined and beautiful; addictive eye candy for technophiles, they're not called Crackberrys for nothing!

People that prefer the older model T-Mobile Blackberry, by and large, work in business environments that rely on dealing with many emails efficiently. Those that I've talked to, say that they'd never upgrade to the Blackberry Pearl because of the non-QWERTY keyboard. Fast composing and sending of reply emails is their main concern, although it goes beyond saying that both Blackberrys are also cellphones. They worry that the non-QWERTY keyboard of the Pearl would slow down their correspondence and get words wrong. The Blackberry Pearl uses a SureType keyboard, with two letter options per key, but with the letters themselves still laid out in the standard QWERTY keyboard fashion