Just about every wireless device manufacturer out there has taken at least one shot at the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone in the past year, with some even attempting to duplicate the device's touchscreen interface. Now, wireless email guru Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) is taking a page from others' past success by launching a clamshell version of the Blackberry, converting the already-celebrated handheld device into a more pocketable form factor.

The launch of the Pearl Flip Blackberry is significant, because one complaint against Blackberrys has been their bulky form factor, which results from providing both a large screen and full QWERTY keyboard on the device. Now that the two fold together in a slim package, RIM is answering the desires of those who want an unobtrusive yet functional wireless email solution. The slim form factor of the flip-style RAZR was a huge success for Motorola (NYSE:MOT), and a painful reminder to Nokia (NYSE:NOK) that consumers -- particularly in the U.S. -- go gaga over a svelte flip phone.

Like many of the recent Blackberry models, RIM is giving the Pearl Flip the features it needs to cross both the corporate and consumer markets, including a camera and media capabilities. Carrier T-Mobile USA hopes to gain ground on Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) as the exclusive service provider of the Pearl Flip. Its launch this fall will give T-Mobile a shot against the Apple and AT&T (NYSE:T) combination, which is positioning the iPhone as the phone to beat for the holidays.

Of course, no single model -- even if it turns out to be a smashing success -- will drive RIM to new heights by itself. With shares currently trading at a premium of nearly 40 times earnings, RIM company must emerge intact from competitive battles on all fronts to keep growth alive. Apple has been taking sharp aim at RIM's corporate base, an effort that may or may not be successful at breaking the Canadian company's's hold on the business market.

Still, as long as RIM continues to write the rules and aggressively move into new categories with fashionable and functional devices, it will be difficult for competitors to overcome its momentum.

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Fool contributor Dave Mock thought that pearls only came in oyster shells, not clamshells. He owns shares of Motorola and is the author of The Qualcomm Equation. Sprint Nextel is an Inside Value recommendation. Apple is a Stock Advisor pick. The Fool's disclosure policy holds grandmaster status at Tiddlywinks.