Waterloo (ON) – Research in Motion (RIM) today announced the new Tour smartphone, which looks like the CDMA sibling to the GSM-based Curve 8900. Yet, the phones are very different in their hardware and software specifications and it is once again that forces buyers to make compromises as Wi-Fi is not supported.
At first sight, the Tour looks virtually identical to the Curve 8900, which has been offered for several months by T-Mobile and more recently became available at AT&T as well. However, while the overall design is the same, the Tour is slightly taller, wider, deeper and heavier. The two devices share some features such as a 3.2 megapixel camera, the 480 x 360 pixel display, GPS capability or the standard 256 MB memory. The key differentiator is that the Tour is positioned as a 3G world phone and therefore supports EV-DO Rev. A as well as UMTS networks.
While one of the 8900’s downfalls is the absence of 3G support, the Tour does not include a with Wi-Fi chip, which should be considered a standard feature of smartphones today. The software integration is very similar to the 8900, but there are subtle differences, as the two phones differ in their support of audio and video playback formats – the Tour supports far less standards than the 8900 and lacks, for example integration of Xvid, WMV3, WAV and MIDI. The battery life for standard talk and standby time are shorter (5 hours/14 days) than in the 8900.
The Tour will be available later this summer and carry the model number 9630, RIM said.