BlackBerry 9630: How to tell if the Tour's for you

Its got processor speed, GSM and CDMA support, new OS v4.7 BlackBerry software

Research In Motion has released its latest addition to the BlackBerry family: the BlackBerry Tour 9630 from Verizon Wireless and Sprint. Though the Tour's nothing revolutionary, it's sure to put countless smiles on the faces of CDMA-BlackBerry users across North America. Here's how to tell if the new BlackBerry Tour should be your next smartphone.

First, the most important factor of all: Do you live, work or spend most of your time in a "good" Sprint or Verizon wireless coverage zone? After all, no device on the planet is going to get the job done without sufficient wireless coverage, especially with no Wi-Fi, but I'll get to that shortly.

BlackBerry Tour 9630
RIM's new BlackBerry Tour 9630 travels well.

The best way to determine if you reside or work in an area with strong Sprint or Verizon coverage is to speak with a friend, colleague, neighbor, etc., who uses Sprint or Verizon on a daily basis. Get general impressions of each carrier's coverage in your areas. Then check out the appropriate online coverage maps. (Verizon here and Sprint here.) And visit a Sprint or Verizon store to speak with company representatives. In other words, do a bit of research.

If you find that Sprint or Verizon coverage isn't up to snuff where you roam most often, you'll probably want to avoid the Tour -- at least for now.

Next, the device itself and some quick technical specifications from RIM:

  • 528-MHz next-generation processor
  • Dual-band CDMA/EV-DO Rev A (800/1900MHz); World Phone, Quad-Band GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900MHz); UMTS/HSPA (2100MHz)
  • Built-in GPS
  • High-resolution (HVGA+ / 480x360), light-sensing display
  • Enhanced Web browser
  • DataViz Documents To Go
  • Advanced multimedia player with support for streaming video
  • Support for BlackBerry Media Sync (iTunes playlist sync)
  • BlackBerry OS v4.7
  • Expandable memory slot for up to 16GB of storage
  • 3.2 MP camera with auto focus, digital zoom, flash, image stabilization and video recording
  • Support for the renowned messaging capabilities of the BlackBerry platform, including push e-mail, popular instant messaging applications and premium phone features

The features that really catch my eye here are the processor speed; the device's support for a wide array of wireless networks, both GSM and CDMA; the new BlackBerry software, OS v4.7; and the 3.2 megapixel, auto-focus camera.

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