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Research In Motion, whose share value has crashed 15% since Xmas, has launched a pink version of its Blackberry Pearl 2.0 as it seeks to broaden its appeal to the consumer/retail market, and compete with Apple’s iPhone. Currently the pink model is only available in the USA however it is expected in Australia.

(Apple doesn’t offer a pink iPhone ­ but its Australian subsidiary is currently offering a pink iPod Nano as a Valentine’s Day special).

The pink Pearl is being marketed by US carrier Verizon in time for Valentines Day ­ a red version is already being marketed by rival carrier Sprint.

The Pearl 2.0 sports a 2-megapixel camera and other multimedia goodies for the consumer market. But it lacks the touch controls, WiFi Web browsing and big screen of the iPhone.

RIM claims 12 million Blackberry users worldwide, with more than one third of them classified as non-corporate or non-government. Apple aims to have 10 million iPhone users by the end of 2008.

Despite the increased sales to the consumer area, RIM shares have dropped 15 per cent this year, as analysts have concerns about the effect the US economic downturn might have on future sales.

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