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BlackBerry Tour: Verizon Goes Bold


UPDATE: Sprint has announced that it will offer the Tour for $200 after instant and mail-in rebate, with a two-year service agreements.

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With all the fuss about the Apple iPhone 3G S things have been a bit quiet in BlackBerry land. But the folks from Waterloo (Ont.) are making a bit of a splash June 17—the day the version 3.0 iPhone software goes live, with the announcement of the BlackBerry Tour 9630.

The Tour, which is essentially an EV-DO version of AT&T’s Bold, will be available “later this summer” from Verizon Wireless in the U.S. and from Telus and Bell Mobility in Canada. Pricing will be announced later, but I’d be surprised if the U.S. price is very far from the $199 (after rebate) that AT&T gets for the Bold.

The specs are very similar to the Bold: A tad narrower, shorter, and thinner, though the 4 mm narrowing to a more Curve-like width is the only change you are likely to notice. The screen offers slightly higher resolution, 480x360 pixels vs. 480x320 for the Bold. Stated battery life—5 hours of talk, 15 days standby—is a bit better than the Bold, despite a slightly smaller battery.

Like the BlackBerry Storm and the 8830 World Edition (which it will likely replace in the Verizon lineup), the Tour uses dual CDMA/GSM technology, which will let it work on CDMA/EV-DO Rev A networks in North America and GSM/EDGE/HSPA networks most everywhere else (at the usual extortionate roaming charges.) This versatility requires an amazing seven radios before you add Bluetooth and GPS. Notice something missing from that list? Alas, the Tour [corrected], like the Storm, lacks Wi-Fi, a technology that Verizon seems to believe it can somehow still stuff back in the bottle.

Now the remaining question is when a no-CDMA version of the Storm will become available through AT&T and other GSM carriers? And will it gain Wi-Fi in the transition.


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