BlackBerry Tour Aims at Both Consumers and Business Users

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Canada’s Research in Motion has formally introduced its new BlackBerry Tour smartphone, which the company hopes will appeal to anybody who takes their business—or their lives—on the road. The new smartphone falls somewhere in between RIM’s consumer-friendly BlackBerry Curve and corporate-oriented BlackBerry Bold, and aims at travelers with high-speed 3G EV-DO Rev A network support (think Verizon and Sprint) along with UMTS/HSPA and quad-band EDGE/GPRS/GSM support for latching on to high-speed mobile networks overseas.

"We are proud to add this powerful new 3G world phone to our successful product portfolio," said RIM co-CEO and president Mike Lazaridis, in a statement."With its striking design and exceptional performance, the new BlackBerry Tour will offer a compelling choice for the growing number of wireless customers looking to upgrade their existing cell phone to a smartphone."

Appearance-wise, the Tour is much like other BlackBerry phones: full QWERTY keypad, a 2.44-inch 480 by 360-pixel display, and RIM’s trademark trackball for navigating apps and content. The Tour features a 3.2 megapixel camera, 256 MB of flash memory (with microSD/SDHC expansion for up to 16 GB more storage), Bluetooth, integrated GPS support, and up to 5 hours of talk time (and 14 days of standby) on a single battery charge. (Notably missing? 802.11 Wi-Fi wireless networking.) In terms of software, the Tour features a full HTML Web browser (of course) along with DataViz Documents to Go (for tapping into Office documents), support for BlackBerry App World (RIM’s answer to the iTunes App Store), and support for BlackBerry Internet Service with support for up to 10 accounts. The Tour also features apps for tying into popular social networking services and instant messaging.

The BlackBerry Tour should be available from Verizon and Sprint this summer. Sprint has already announced the Tour will be available for $199.99 (after $150 in rebates with a new two-year contract.