BlackBerry Tour Smartphone – Inside Scoop

Product

9630Tour_ENG_Gen_FrontNoShadow SMALL cropped

Unlike Riz, who has the good fortune to try new products often, I’m usually a smartphone or two behind our experts. But, as it turned out, managing this blog came with a set of perks all its own — I get to play around with new products too!

A few weeks back I got to play with the BlackBerry® Tour™ smartphone, which today we announced is expected to be available from carriers in North America beginning later this summer. I also managed to wrangle an interview with Shaun, one of the many brains behind RIM’s latest smartphone, because let’s not kid ourselves, you’d much rather hear his views on the BlackBerry Tour than mine (I know my place *sigh*).

So Shaun, did you have direct influence over anything particular for this device?

As the Product Manager for the BlackBerry Tour smartphone you get to see the product from concept to launch. I was able to help shape the BlackBerry Tour smartphone to what it is today. Looking at the smartphone market and the features that the users were looking for, I worked with our R&D team to ensure that we produced the best possible product.

What are the feature(s) you are most excited about?

The multimedia capabilities are fantastic. With a brilliant display, watching videos and viewing pictures is crystal clear. The upgrades we have made to our software from even just a year ago have made the music experience outstanding. Connecting my BlackBerry Tour smartphone to my Bluetooth® Music Gateway is a great way to get my music at home.

How does it compare to other smartphones out there?

With the introduction of the BlackBerry Tour smartphone we’ve really stepped up our game. As I mentioned above, the display is simply incredible. At 480×360 web browsing is awesome and pictures and videos are amazingly crisp and clear. There is a 3.2MP camera, 256MB of memory and international roaming capabilities. With the support of EVDO Rev A, quad-band EDGE and 2100 MHz HSPA/UMTS you can take the BlackBerry Tour smartphone pretty much anywhere in the world and be able to stay in touch.

Just because I’m nosy, how have you made it unique to you?

For me it’s all about folders. I like to have a very clean homescreen and only have the main apps that I use most often readily available:

Shaun Screen

Since it works pretty much anywhere in the world, have you been anywhere outside of North America with it yet? If not, any plans?

I haven’t been traveling outside of North America yet. However I am heading to New Zealand for my honeymoon so I can’t wait to still be able to stay in touch family, friends and work (if needed). Although my wife might not be too happy with the work part.:)

Thanks Shaun! And now a question for our readers…Where will you take the BlackBerry Tour smartphone?

About Becky Y.

As RIM's social media strategist, Becky spends much of her day following great online conversations about the BlackBerry® brand (and does some work here and there too). You will hear from her occasionally on Inside BlackBerry, but for the most part she will be behind the scenes, supporting our roster of experts in their blogging activities. Becky anticipates that she will have a lot of "Who Knew?!" moments, and hopes that our readers do too.

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  • Ian

    Where will I take the Tour? First things first… let’s get AT&T; to pick this up. I just bought my Bold, and love it, but this is more of the perfect device for me. It’s everything I love about the Bold married to everything I am interested in about the Curve 8900. A perfect match.
    So… come on AT&T.; Let’s get this thing on the shelves so I can have one!

  • Ian

    Where will I take the Tour? First things first… let’s get AT&T to pick this up. I just bought my Bold, and love it, but this is more of the perfect device for me. It’s everything I love about the Bold married to everything I am interested in about the Curve 8900. A perfect match.
    So… come on AT&T. Let’s get this thing on the shelves so I can have one!

  • Caspan

    I’m not sure what all the hype is about this device. It looks pretty and all but to me its just another curve. I Think the Bold has still to be challenged I want raw power and none of the other devices can do that.

  • Caspan

    I’m not sure what all the hype is about this device. It looks pretty and all but to me its just another curve. I Think the Bold has still to be challenged I want raw power and none of the other devices can do that.

  • Riz

    Thanks for the interview!
    Here’s a short promo video on the tour (looks great): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKIYzoqYjaQ&feature;=player_embedded

  • Riz

    Thanks for the interview!
    Here’s a short promo video on the tour (looks great): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKIYzoqYjaQ&feature=player_embedded

  • walter

    Sounds great. What is the antenna strength. I have Verizon and tried moving from the 8830 to the Storm, but there was one bar difference on the antenna reception. As my home is in the Verizon “Dead Zone” the one bar difference was the difference between making calls and losing calls.
    How will the reception with the Tour match up to my 8830.

  • walter

    Sounds great. What is the antenna strength. I have Verizon and tried moving from the 8830 to the Storm, but there was one bar difference on the antenna reception. As my home is in the Verizon “Dead Zone” the one bar difference was the difference between making calls and losing calls.
    How will the reception with the Tour match up to my 8830.

  • Vox Ardea

    Great question, Walter. I too live in a place with spotty reception, so I’d like to know about the antenna capabilities. I too have a Curve, and have toyed with getting a Storm, but have heard about the weakness issue. This sound like a great alternative.
    Also, does anybody know if Verizon will carry this phone? They’re the only game in our town.

  • Vox Ardea

    Great question, Walter. I too live in a place with spotty reception, so I’d like to know about the antenna capabilities. I too have a Curve, and have toyed with getting a Storm, but have heard about the weakness issue. This sound like a great alternative.
    Also, does anybody know if Verizon will carry this phone? They’re the only game in our town.

  • Phoenix Heat

    Looks nice. I’m very happy with the Curve 8900, if this improves the screen even more, kudos. Where could I get a copy of the wallpaper in the top image (the bridge)? Very nice…

  • Phoenix Heat

    Looks nice. I’m very happy with the Curve 8900, if this improves the screen even more, kudos. Where could I get a copy of the wallpaper in the top image (the bridge)? Very nice…

  • Rob

    I have been a dedicated Palm user since the 90’s and am finally making the switch over to Blackberry. I currently use the Palm Treo 755. I had purchased the new Palm Pre and returned it within 1 week and am completely disappointed in the Palm Pro.
    After researching BB and messing around with an 8900 belonging to an employee of mine, I’ve decided to wait on the Tour to be released.
    So here are my questions.
    WHEN??? I am a Sprint customer and the only answer we seem to be able to get is, towards the end of the summer.
    I will be going on a business trip at the end of July and a phone that works on all networks will be a tremendous benefit.
    “Later this summer” sounds suspiciously like mid August or later.
    Second, I’ve looked on the BB website to try to understand what networks are in what countries. Is there a link to find this information? Will the Tour work on my trip to Eruope this July or on my honeymoon in New Zealand?
    I’m assuming charges for such usuage will have to be discussed with Sprint, I just want to know if it will work. Either way, I’m getting this phone.
    Last question. If you’re going to put so much effort into making a phone to meet everyone’s needs, why would you leave certain features out? Such as Wi-Fi connectivity?
    Okay, one more question. Is there a feed back / R&D; department where we can submit “wish list” items for future phones or software?
    Thanks in advance for the help. Keep up the good work.
    -Rob

  • Rob

    I have been a dedicated Palm user since the 90’s and am finally making the switch over to Blackberry. I currently use the Palm Treo 755. I had purchased the new Palm Pre and returned it within 1 week and am completely disappointed in the Palm Pro.
    After researching BB and messing around with an 8900 belonging to an employee of mine, I’ve decided to wait on the Tour to be released.
    So here are my questions.
    WHEN??? I am a Sprint customer and the only answer we seem to be able to get is, towards the end of the summer.
    I will be going on a business trip at the end of July and a phone that works on all networks will be a tremendous benefit.
    “Later this summer” sounds suspiciously like mid August or later.
    Second, I’ve looked on the BB website to try to understand what networks are in what countries. Is there a link to find this information? Will the Tour work on my trip to Eruope this July or on my honeymoon in New Zealand?
    I’m assuming charges for such usuage will have to be discussed with Sprint, I just want to know if it will work. Either way, I’m getting this phone.
    Last question. If you’re going to put so much effort into making a phone to meet everyone’s needs, why would you leave certain features out? Such as Wi-Fi connectivity?
    Okay, one more question. Is there a feed back / R&D department where we can submit “wish list” items for future phones or software?
    Thanks in advance for the help. Keep up the good work.
    -Rob

  • http://www.rim.com/ Becky

    The wallpaper from Shaun’s smartphone comes preloaded on the BlackBerry Tour.

  • http://www.rim.com Becky

    The wallpaper from Shaun’s smartphone comes preloaded on the BlackBerry Tour.

  • blkbtrflie

    Will this be offered for T-Mobile? Seems like Verizon gets all the nice phones and then Sprint. I would LOVE to have this phone!!!!

  • blkbtrflie

    Will this be offered for T-Mobile? Seems like Verizon gets all the nice phones and then Sprint. I would LOVE to have this phone!!!!

  • Annu

    Hi Rob,
    You are right, Sprint have announced availability of the BlackBerry Tour Smartphone for this summer- very soon actually!
    In terms of countries the device will work in, you will have to check with Sprint to see what roaming agreements they have in place with partners aboard (this might be a good place to start: http://www.sprint.com/international). While you are at it, ensure you have a good plan that will suit your roaming needs, so you don’t get dinged when you get your bill. The BlackBerry Tour has both CDMA and GSM support so technically it can work almost anywhere! It all boils down to roaming agreements.
    If you want to submit any feedback or share your wish list, this is a good place to do it! That’s one reason we started this blog.
    All the best,
    Annu

  • Annu

    Hi Rob,
    You are right, Sprint have announced availability of the BlackBerry Tour Smartphone for this summer- very soon actually!
    In terms of countries the device will work in, you will have to check with Sprint to see what roaming agreements they have in place with partners aboard (this might be a good place to start: http://www.sprint.com/international). While you are at it, ensure you have a good plan that will suit your roaming needs, so you don’t get dinged when you get your bill. The BlackBerry Tour has both CDMA and GSM support so technically it can work almost anywhere! It all boils down to roaming agreements.
    If you want to submit any feedback or share your wish list, this is a good place to do it! That’s one reason we started this blog.
    All the best,
    Annu

  • jmmb

    Ok, I have been to the cellular retail store and tried to check out the Tour. It took 20 minutes to be seen by an employee. I was totally annoyed by the security chain on the back of the Tour on display. I could not get the feel of the phone at all. So, that was a big negative. Next, when I put my 8833 next to the Tour and set the fonts the some size and pulled up the same web pages, I noticed the Tour was only slightly faster in loading the page and the much smaller keys on the Tour are a almost as small as the Palm Pre I looked at during the weekend. The screen on my 8830 is just as bright (to me) and slightly larger field of view. I did not take out my ruler, but side-by-side the Tour is not worth the expense.
    I am not happy with not having a camera in my 8833, but even the 3.2 megapixel camera’s image quality in the Tour lacks luster compared to my very compact digital camera or Flip camcorder.
    The sales person was not familiar with the Tour. I was underwhelmed by her sales pitch! If I was the manager of a cellular store, and someone wanted to plunk down big bucks for a Blackberry device, I would at least have someone using a BB selling them.
    The price offered by my service provider of upgrading from my one year old 8833 is $270. I think I can live without the Tour. The deals will have to get better! This lame $70 “mail in rebate” offered, is not good enough yet. IMHO, the Tour is not that much better especially during a depression for me to plunk down so much money for so few improvements. Not that much smaller, not that much faster, and I never listen to music or watch videos on my cell phone. I have an iPod for that and it is much better at it- easier to sync.
    The best feature about the Tour is the newest version of the BB OS – 4.5(?) is needed to support so many new applications. However, will I actually use the new applications $270 worth?
    Wish list?
    1. Better desktop sync with my Apple laptop! This is my biggest dislike- syncing my Contacts list is so time consuming I just don’t try any more. Makes me want to get rid of my BB. I spend too much time adding an updating because syncing creates multiple entries. HELP PLEASE…
    2. When is Tour II coming to a Verizon store near me? Larger screen PLEASE. Oh and you can forget that “touch screen”. I am not going to type on a glass screen. If I am, it will be on that other brand cell device that I will not mention.

  • jmmb

    Ok, I have been to the cellular retail store and tried to check out the Tour. It took 20 minutes to be seen by an employee. I was totally annoyed by the security chain on the back of the Tour on display. I could not get the feel of the phone at all. So, that was a big negative. Next, when I put my 8833 next to the Tour and set the fonts the some size and pulled up the same web pages, I noticed the Tour was only slightly faster in loading the page and the much smaller keys on the Tour are a almost as small as the Palm Pre I looked at during the weekend. The screen on my 8830 is just as bright (to me) and slightly larger field of view. I did not take out my ruler, but side-by-side the Tour is not worth the expense.
    I am not happy with not having a camera in my 8833, but even the 3.2 megapixel camera’s image quality in the Tour lacks luster compared to my very compact digital camera or Flip camcorder.
    The sales person was not familiar with the Tour. I was underwhelmed by her sales pitch! If I was the manager of a cellular store, and someone wanted to plunk down big bucks for a Blackberry device, I would at least have someone using a BB selling them.
    The price offered by my service provider of upgrading from my one year old 8833 is $270. I think I can live without the Tour. The deals will have to get better! This lame $70 “mail in rebate” offered, is not good enough yet. IMHO, the Tour is not that much better especially during a depression for me to plunk down so much money for so few improvements. Not that much smaller, not that much faster, and I never listen to music or watch videos on my cell phone. I have an iPod for that and it is much better at it- easier to sync.
    The best feature about the Tour is the newest version of the BB OS – 4.5(?) is needed to support so many new applications. However, will I actually use the new applications $270 worth?
    Wish list?
    1. Better desktop sync with my Apple laptop! This is my biggest dislike- syncing my Contacts list is so time consuming I just don’t try any more. Makes me want to get rid of my BB. I spend too much time adding an updating because syncing creates multiple entries. HELP PLEASE…
    2. When is Tour II coming to a Verizon store near me? Larger screen PLEASE. Oh and you can forget that “touch screen”. I am not going to type on a glass screen. If I am, it will be on that other brand cell device that I will not mention.

  • HeavyTourUser

    The 8830 was a great phone and the Tour is a worthy upgrade. I’ve been happily using the Tour for a week and have to say congrats to you. The screen resolution, fonts, EVDO Rev.A, better browser, tethering, desktop mgr for migration of data, are all things that make it a better value prop than the iPhone for a business user.

  • HeavyTourUser

    The 8830 was a great phone and the Tour is a worthy upgrade. I’ve been happily using the Tour for a week and have to say congrats to you. The screen resolution, fonts, EVDO Rev.A, better browser, tethering, desktop mgr for migration of data, are all things that make it a better value prop than the iPhone for a business user.

  • Frank

    I also as a Palm Treo600 user for more than 3 years. Now I plan to buy BB as my new device. Still confusing which one will I choose, Bold or Javelin.
    Anyone will give a recommendation?
    Thanks in advance.

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