Research in Motion today unveiled the Blackberry Tour, with
a pair of wireless partners – rather than making the device exclusive to a
single company. Sprint and Verizon Wireless will both offer the device when it
becomes available this summer.
Pricing looks to be set at $199 with a two-year contract
with either company.
The Tour will tap into 3G networks in the U.S. and
internationally, letting the two companies compete with faster smart phones on
the market. Its pricing structure puts it in line with both the Palm Pre (which
is exclusive to Sprint) and iPhone 3GS (exclusive to AT&T).
The Tour will feature a 3.2MP camera with flash, zoom, autofocus
and image stabilization, a built-in GPS and the ability to synch music from
iTunes. It will also allow users to share pictures and videos via MMS.
(All of this, of course, is in addition to what today’s
Blackberries already offer.)
RIM is hoping the Tour will prevent the Pre and new iPhone
from eroding its share of the smart phone market. Currently half of the smart
phones in use around the country are sold by RIM.
While the Pre and iPhone have more buzz, the Blackberry is a
staple of business users. Introducing a faster phone that can be used around
the world could prevent companies from switching their employee base to other models.