BlackBerry Tour: Verizon Goes Bold

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on June 15, 2009

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.

bb_tour.jpgThe 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.

Reader Comments

tour not bold

June 16, 2009 9:43 AM

Alas, the Tour(not the Bold), like the Storm, lacks Wi-Fi, a technology that Verizon seems to believe it can somehow still stuff back in the bottle.

gosh crackstein

June 17, 2009 1:21 AM

This is neither 'bold' nor something I would take on 'tour'. Alas it's yet another ho hum device for the crack berry faithful.

beach girl

June 17, 2009 4:34 AM

It's not $200 for new customers or current subscribers eligible for upgrade. It's actually $49.99 after rebates.. http://newsreleases.sprint.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=127149&p=irol-newsArticle_newsroom&ID=1299306

Steve Wildstrom

June 17, 2009 5:51 AM

@Beach Girl--I'm afraid you are misreading the Sprint announcement, which is not very clearly worded. The $199.99 price is what you pay net for the $100 mail-in rebate and the $50 instant rebate.

atomcap

June 17, 2009 6:22 PM

gosh crackstein must not really have a need for email. it's an email device for professionals....

coolfx35

June 18, 2009 4:54 AM

I've been using Blackberries for over a year now (and have several of them to date). I'm not necessarily an "expert" on BB's but I know more than the average user.

I'm a gadget addict with full blown Blackberry addiction :-) If you have never had one and don't know what I mean when I say that don't worry, you will soon enough ;-) They say once you go BlackBerry you can never go back and for the most part that is true. I have had several Blackberries on Verizon (8830 World Edition, Curve 8930, Storm 9530, and soon to be the Niagara 9630) which is my preferred carrier. But I do have a line on AT&T because I could not resist the Bold any longer. Soon I will have an unlocked TMobile BB 8900 Curve and swap that back and forth with my Curve (the wonders of a SIM card).

I came across a site for the blackberry tour owners http://www.Blackberry-tour.com I hope you will also find it useful. talk care.

Josh

June 21, 2009 9:20 PM

These are perplexing times. After handing over my corporate-issued 8703e (changed jobs), I'm now sans smartphone.

So what do I do? iPhone 3GS? Palm pre? BlackBerry Tour?

The release date for the Tour is still unclear, but one thing is for certain - I've never once had to call tech support about a BlackBerry device. Palm support, on the other hand, was a nightmare when I had the early-rev Treo 650 firmware which made voicemail and other touch-tone services unusable...

jenny

June 22, 2009 5:28 PM

i'm in NYC and am also on the fence about which phone to get. i email a lot, to clients. i need a good keyboard. went from a motorola q to a new blackberry curve, and really didn't like the keyboard, the keys were simply too small.
I am waiting for the tour, i tried a bold over the weekend, the keys are slightly bigger and more separated (like the q).

I would like an iphone, but i hear so many complaints about ATT coverage in NYC

Becca

June 24, 2009 1:12 PM

Does anybody know when the Tour is going to be available to buy??

With Verizon, I'm elligible for an upgrade and want to get the Tour! I heard "sometime in July" but have not found a specific date yet. Does anybody know??

Michael Fawcett

June 26, 2009 8:24 AM

nobody knows.
could be weeks away

Joe

June 26, 2009 9:19 PM

I heard July 13th, 2009

katherine

June 29, 2009 10:35 PM

Coolfx35-- You said that you had already had a Curve 8930. When was this phone released? Right now on the verizon website there are very limited Blackberry options. I googled the Curve 8930 and it says it is yet to be released? Just wanted some clarification, I'm getting my first blackberry in about a month and I want to get one like the curve 8900 and it seems that the 8930 is the most similar one taht verizon carries. Anyone have some info on either of these phones?

Keyser Soze

July 3, 2009 1:34 AM

Tour comes out on the 12th.

John

July 6, 2009 2:57 PM

I talked with a verizon Rep they said the 12 of july it is.

Prakash

July 21, 2009 3:13 PM

Using Blackberry Tour from Verizon since Friday. Quick Take // Pros // light - compact / long battery life / very bright sharp and vibrant screen / keyboard feel / finish quality // Cons // buggy context menus don't always pop up, UI design not in same league as iPhone or Blackberries of yore. Blackberry is sadly losing their once unparalleled ability to design great mobile UIs. Takeaway: Best smartphone with a keyboard.

G

October 7, 2009 11:27 AM

Verizon's Tour is a SUB PAR DEVICE.

CONS:

1) BAD BATTERY LIFE. unacceptably short. The battery dies before my day is done. I did not have this problem with the Curve.

2) NO WIFI.

3) Mouse Ball is too close to the key board and I accidentally brush it when typing which moves the cursor around in the message, causing me to re-write portions of almost every text, BBM and email.

4) Screen view jumps around in emails that are html based. Curve did not have this problem.

5) Many models have hardware and software issues with mouse ball control rendering the horizontal function unusable. Many people have had to return their Tour for new ones. Verizon is aware of this.

PROS:

1) SIM CARD feature allows users to insert SIM cards from local phone companies when traveling abroad.

I Miss my Curve

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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