blackberry_tourThe newest BlackBerry sports several enhancements in the market leading lineup that appeals particularly to VerizonWireless and Sprint customers. Available mid-July 2009, the BlackBerry Tour is a world-phone, in that it supports the CDMA network technologies of Verizon and Sprint, and GSM/GPRS/EDGE support for quad-band spectrum when traveling abroad.

Some years ago, my manager was a client of Sprint and everytime he travelled to Europe or Asia, he had to visit his Sprint office and get another phone that handled GSM. Calls were automatically forwarded to that phone. Yuck. Making improvements on this process, so he can take and use the same phone internationally is a big improvement. Maybe, the next thing RIM will do is fix the exhorbitant international roaming charges? How about it Jim B.?

Interestingly, the Tour will be available simultaneously on Sprint and VerizonWireless networks. I think that lets VerizonWireless in on the smartphone rush now in full swing – with the exclusive release of the latest iPhone on AT&T and the Palm Pre on Sprint – the largest US service provider probably felt a little out of the frenzy, until now.

The Tour comes with GPS, mapping software, video recording capabilities, a hardwired backlit QWERTY keyboard and is fully supported by the BlackBerry Enterprise Server for push email and secure data communications. Although not necessarily a Pre ‘killer’, the larger keyboard and international capability is a solid response to BlackBerry users that travel and were tempted to consider switching networks. The Tour may do more to keep existing BlackBerry customers happy than to win new-to-BlackBerry customers, which is a pretty reasonable business goal in this economic climate.

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