BlackBerry Tour Smartphone Now Available on Sprint, Verizon Wireless
Research In Motion BlackBerry Tour is now available on both the Sprint and
Verizon Wireless networks.
The Tour, a CDMA world phone, offers calling and data access around the world-Sprint supports calls in more than 185 countries and e-mail and Web browsing in nearly 150, and Verizon supports a handful more, with call support in 220 countries and e-mail and Internet in 175.
Additional capabilities and features include a screen that's 480 by 360 pixels, trackball device navigation, 256MB of on-board memory, a media player for music and videos, GPS navigation, a 3.2-megapixel camera, and a form factor that's slimmer and lighter than the BlackBerry Bold.
The newest addition to the BlackBerry line arrives during a summer of blockbuster smartphone offerings, including the Apple iPhone 3GS, the Palm Pre and the Nokia N97.
It also follows a strong financial performance from RIM, which on June 17 announced revenue of $3.42 billion for the first quarter of fiscal year 2010-a 53 percent increase from the first quarter of the previous year. During that announcement RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie also stated that BlackBerry devices now share an equal audience of enterprise and consumer customers, which is a balance RIM is particularly trying to strike with the Tour.
After RIM's June 16 introduction of the Tour, Strategy Analytics analyst Alex Spektor told eWEEK, "My understanding is that the phone does not have Wi-Fi, which may limit appeal to consumers who desire the feature. It does, however, come with a 3.2-megapixel auto-focus camera, microSD memory expansion, video streaming/playback capabilities and stereo Bluetooth support, all of which have a lot of consumer appeal. The phone is slightly thinner, shorter and less wide than the Bold [on AT&T], for increased pocketability. And, with support for BlackBerry App World, the device is one step closer to Apple's iPhone in terms of consumer appeal."
Spektor added, "The Tour does not necessarily have any more consumer appeal than the existing Storm, except for consumers looking for a solid messaging experience with a physical keyboard."
Both Sprint and Verizon Wireless have priced the Tour, after rebates and with a two-year contract, at $199.