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RIM Unveiled The Blackberry Tour 9630

RIM has announced a surprising new addition to the Blackberry family; the Tour 9630, also called a World Phone, looks like a Curve and the Bold but comes without WiFi compatibility.

The smartphone which also boosts 3G connectivity supports CDMA and HSDPA technologies which means that it will be compatible on both sides of the Atlantic. Physically, it is not unlike the Nokia E72 and comes with a full QWERTY keyboard and weighs only 130g.

The 9630 - which is set to replace the 8830 World Edition - as it is also known has a 2.4-inch screen capable of displaying 480x360 pixels with a 3.2-megapixel camera, flash, autofocus, variable zoom, video capture and image stabilisation.

RIM has also integrated GPS functionality and Blackberry Maps. No pricing or availability dates have been revealed (arguably it will be cheaper than the Curve or the Bold). The device will be available on Verizon Wireless and Sprint in the US.

Also on the spec list is support for up to 32GB microSD memory cards (when they come out) to supplement the 256MB onboard memory, a 3.5mm headphone socket, support for iTunes and Windows Media Player synchronisation as well as Bluetooth 2.0.

Price in the US will be around $199.99 after a $150 rebate and a two year contract. The Canadian manufacturer says that the Tour's 1400mAh battery will ensure five hours of talktime and 14 days on standby.

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Our Comments

The Blackberry Bold is available from Three for only £30 with unlimited texts, Blackberry Email and Internet add on plus 500 minutes. Arguably, the Bold is not as good as the Tour which means that you could expect the later to be available on £40 per month contracts and above. n comparison, the Curve 8900 is on sale on an 18-month contract for £35 with 600 minutes, 500 texts and unlimited internet.

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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.