On Monday, Research in Motion unveiled its newest device, the RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630, a 3G-enabled world phone that will be available from Sprint and Verizon Wireless later this summer. In addition, the smartphone will be sold in Canada through Bell Mobility and Telus.
The news isn't a complete surprise. Also known as the BlackBerry Niagara, the BlackBerry Tour 9630 has long been rumored for the CDMA carriers and finally brings an update to Sprint and Verizon's BlackBerry 8830 World Edition models.
As a dual-mode world phone, the BlackBerry Tour runs on the carrier's respective EV-DO Rev. A 3G networks domestically and offers 3G UMTS/HSPA (2100Mhz) and quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900; GPRS/EDGE) support, so you can get voice and data coverage while traveling outside of North America. The smartphone also offers Bluetooth 2.0 (including stereo Bluetooth and tethering) as well as assisted and autonomous GPS, but unfortunately, there is no Wi-Fi.
As far as design, the BlackBerry Tour is a blend of the RIM BlackBerry Curve 8900 and the RIM BlackBerry Bold. The device measures 4.4 inches tall by 2.4 inches wide by 0.5 inch thick and weighs 4.5 ounces. There's a 35-key QWERTY keyboard for easy typing and a 2.44-inch, 480x360-pixel resolution display.
Of course, the standard BlackBerry features are there, including support for personal and corporate e-mail, text and multimedia messaging, a speakerphone, and voice-activated dialing. The BlackBerry Tour also supports the recently launched BlackBerry App World and comes preloaded with Documents to Go for viewing and editing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents.
Other highlights of the phone include a 3.2-megapixel camera with video recording, a music and video player, a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack, an HTML Web browser, 256MB RAM with up to 16GB expandable memory, and a user-replaceable 1400mAh lithium ion battery with a rated talk time of 5 hours and up to 14 days of standby time.
While specific availability dates were not released by the carriers, Sprint did reveal that it will offer the RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 for $199.99 with a two-year contract and after rebates and said the smartphone will come preloaded with the Sprint Music Store, Sprint TV, Sprint NFL Mobile Live, and Nascar Sprint Cup Mobile. Details of Verizon's pricing or offerings are not yet available, but we'll update you as soon as we have information.