Sprint to put Tour on sale for $200 on July 12

Carrier emphasizes strength of its network for new BlackBerry smartphone

Sprint Nextel Inc. today said it will put the new BlackBerry Tour smartphone on sale online on July 12 for $200 -- the same price announced earlier for the device.

That figure comes after a $50 instant rebate and a $100 mail-in rebate and requires a two-year service agreement.

In announcing a sales date, Sprint reiterated that the device, with a physical keyboard and a display which measures 2.44 inches diagonally, will work as a world phone on networks in 185 countries.

Sprint also said the device will work over its EV-Do Rev. A network in the U.S., a network that is "faster in more places than AT&T's 3G network and has more than 20 times the coverage of T-Mobile's current 3G network, based on square miles."

The Tour has been called a modest upgrade to the BlackBerry Curve and Bold smartphones. It is also the first BlackBerry to include a physical keyboard that runs on faster EV-DO Rev. A networks. Many consider it a competitor to the recently launched Palm Pre, sold exclusively by Sprint.

Verizon Wireless is also planning to sell the Tour, but details were not immediately available.

Sprint said the Tour's combination of features and functions enable customers to "be more productive and better equipped to manage both their busy personal and business lives." As such, it has MMS for sharing pictures and videos, with access to social networking sites, and includes business-focused capabilities for e-mail, calendar and location-based services.

The Tour comes with an expandable memory slot for up to 16GB of additional storage.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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