Research in Motion today unveiled its newest device, the RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630, a long-rumored 3G-enabled, QWERTY, dual-mode world phone with a 2.44-in. display, slim profile and GPS. It will be available from both Sprint and Verizon Wireless later this summer in the U.S., along with Bell Mobility and Telus in Canada.
The company seems to be attempting to win market share among executives and mainstream consumers despite the global economic downturn, and the new model falls somewhere between the consumer-friendly BlackBerry Curve and the corporate executive-driven BlackBerry Bold, offering business-friendly global capabilities and consumer-friendly multimedia features.
Originally referred to on the Web as the BlackBerry Niagara, the black-with-chrome trim BlackBerry Tour 9630 serves as an update to Sprint and Verizon's BlackBerry 8830 World Edition models, running on EV-DO Rev. A 3G networks domestically and 3G UMTS/HSPA (2100Mhz) and quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900; GPRS/EDGE) support for voice and data overseas.
The smartphone also offers Bluetooth 2.0 (stereo Bluetooth, tethering) and GPS. There is, however, no Wi-Fi on the Tour.
The device touts a 35-key QWERTY keyboard and a 2.44-in., 480 by 360 resolution (245 ppi) display, the highest resolution of any BlackBerry device, the company says. The Tour measures 4.4 in. tall by 2.4 in. wide by 0.5 in. thick and weighs 4.5 oz.
The Tour features standard BlackBerry services, including support for personal and corporate e-mail, text and multimedia messaging, a speakerphone and voice-activated dialing. The Tour also supports BlackBerry App World and comes preloaded with Documents to Go for viewing and editing Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents.
- 3.2-megapixel camera with video recording
- Music and video player
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- HTML Web browser
- 256MB RAM with up to 16GB expandable memory
- User-replaceable 1400mAh lithium ion battery (5 hours talk, 14 days standby)
To compare, the touch-only iPhone 3G and 3GS can be used overseas via AT&T, while Palm's touch-and-QWERTY Pre is only available in the U.S. through Sprint. RIM has also been rumored to be working on a new model of its touchscreen Storm that adds a keyboard to rival Palm's Pre.
Sprint said it will offer the RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 for $199.99, but Verizon did not reveal pricing. Neither carrier offered availability dates for the Tour.
One analyst, Broadpoint Amtech's Mark McKechnie, speculated that RIM could sell 400,000 to 600,000 Tours through the end of August, adding 5 cents to earnings and add $175 million to sales in the quarter that ends in August.