BlackBerry Essex – the Tour with WiFi

55 Comments

blackberry-essex

The latest BlackBerry to surface has been named the Essex. The device is the next iteration of the BlackBerry Tour aka the BlackBerry Niagara aka the BlackBerry 9630.

The Essex looks just like the Tour in size and the major adjustments are in form factor, as well as a couple features such as WiFi will be added.

As with many BlackBerry devices, one of the first things you’ll notice is the keyboard. The Essex has opted out of the Bold style keyboard and chosen a chicklet style Curve keyboard. The BlackBerry community is fairly divided on Curve vs the Bold keyboards, so it makes sense for RIM to change it up and offer both alternatives.

The Essex will also come with the new trackpad, which at this point we have to assume will come standard with all BlackBerry devices that once had a trackball. Again, the device will be a World Phone, capable of roaming between CDMA and GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS networks.

There is also a rumor that this device will be heading to Sprint, which was loosely confirmed when a Sprint exec said we will see a WiFi enabled Tour this year.

Tour owners, how do you feel about RIM launching this device so soon after you bought your 9630? Is WiFi, a trackpad and a new keyboard layout something you would have liked on your device?

UPDATE: I’m going to concede that the keyboard might actually be the same. When you put the two devices side by side, it looks like the keys are a little more separated in a Curve fashion, but it could easily just be the lighting. I’m sure we’ll see more pics coming soon which will clarify.

blackberry-tour-and-essex-keypad-comparison

[Via]

  • Rey

    does RIM need a tester? Pick me! me! I’m here! :)

  • Rey

    does RIM need a tester? Pick me! me! I’m here! :)

  • Jason

    While I understand the allure of wi-fi, I’m not too upset by this. I love my Tour, but I’m a bit confused as to why so many devices are being released in such a short timespan by RIM(tour, onyx, storm II, essex, etc). Does this mean we’ll have to wait another two years for another round of powerful devices?

  • Jason

    While I understand the allure of wi-fi, I’m not too upset by this. I love my Tour, but I’m a bit confused as to why so many devices are being released in such a short timespan by RIM(tour, onyx, storm II, essex, etc). Does this mean we’ll have to wait another two years for another round of powerful devices?

  • Elessar

    I’m really PO’d! Picked up my Tour less than 2 weeks ago — out of contract price. I would have waited for the new version for sure. I’ve gotten used to the keypad buttons, but would have liked the track pad and WiFi in particular. I would also expect that they’ll have come up with a replacement for the ill-fitting battery cover!

  • Elessar

    I’m really PO’d! Picked up my Tour less than 2 weeks ago — out of contract price. I would have waited for the new version for sure. I’ve gotten used to the keypad buttons, but would have liked the track pad and WiFi in particular. I would also expect that they’ll have come up with a replacement for the ill-fitting battery cover!

  • Elessar

    I’m really PO’d! Picked up my Tour less than 2 weeks ago — out of contract price. I would have waited for the new version for sure. I’ve gotten used to the keypad buttons, but would have liked the track pad and WiFi in particular. I would also expect that they’ll have come up with a replacement for the ill-fitting battery cover!

  • Silmaril

    I think it has to do with upgrading their devices to OS 5.0. I am hoping that this new OS iteration will have a longer life than the 4.0 OS.

  • Silmaril

    I think it has to do with upgrading their devices to OS 5.0. I am hoping that this new OS iteration will have a longer life than the 4.0 OS.

  • http://www.blackberrycool.com/ Kyle

    @Jason Generally, RIM releases its devices seasonally. Here is how it works:

    Q1/Q2: Winter and summer months tend to be a little slower. They’ll release a device every now and then, but it’s not the blitz.

    Q3/Q4: Back to school/Holiday season. This is when most devices are launched. This is also when the “next generation” devices are slated.

    If I were to only buy once per year, it would be every Q4.

  • http://www.blackberrycool.com Kyle

    @Jason Generally, RIM releases its devices seasonally. Here is how it works:

    Q1/Q2: Winter and summer months tend to be a little slower. They’ll release a device every now and then, but it’s not the blitz.

    Q3/Q4: Back to school/Holiday season. This is when most devices are launched. This is also when the “next generation” devices are slated.

    If I were to only buy once per year, it would be every Q4.

  • Dave

    “…The Essex has opted out of the Bold style keyboard and chosen a chicklet style Curve keyboard….”

    This does not look like a Curve style keyboard, but the exact keyboard already on the Tour.

  • Dave

    “…The Essex has opted out of the Bold style keyboard and chosen a chicklet style Curve keyboard….”

    This does not look like a Curve style keyboard, but the exact keyboard already on the Tour.

  • Dave

    “…The Essex has opted out of the Bold style keyboard and chosen a chicklet style Curve keyboard….”

    This does not look like a Curve style keyboard, but the exact keyboard already on the Tour.

  • http://www.blackberrycool.com/ Kyle

    @Dave – I put the two keyboards side by side, and you’re probably right. It might be the same keyboard. Although, you have to admit that the lighting makes the Essex keyboard look as though the keys are more separated.

  • http://www.blackberrycool.com Kyle

    @Dave – I put the two keyboards side by side, and you’re probably right. It might be the same keyboard. Although, you have to admit that the lighting makes the Essex keyboard look as though the keys are more separated.

  • Julio

    Just a little fyi because it seems very non proffesional of the editor to note that kevin, the Crackberry Founder, photoshoped this picture. So its a Tour with a trackpad. Lolololol…that’s funny!!! He thinks he knows it “looks like a Tour keyboard”….lol..he analyzed and all…man…I thought you guys where a little more proffesional than that…good one…gave me a laugh…first, you don’t even give credit to kevin at crackberry, second, you analyzing what the “essex” will look like based on a picture with a photoshoped Tour….nice one.

  • Julio

    Just a little fyi because it seems very non proffesional of the editor to note that kevin, the Crackberry Founder, photoshoped this picture. So its a Tour with a trackpad. Lolololol…that’s funny!!! He thinks he knows it “looks like a Tour keyboard”….lol..he analyzed and all…man…I thought you guys where a little more proffesional than that…good one…gave me a laugh…first, you don’t even give credit to kevin at crackberry, second, you analyzing what the “essex” will look like based on a picture with a photoshoped Tour….nice one.

  • Dave

    Another thought…isn’t this an Onyx now without the leather back and Bold molded into the case? What is the difference now…Tour is a world phone? Tour has become the flagship?

  • Dave

    Another thought…isn’t this an Onyx now without the leather back and Bold molded into the case? What is the difference now…Tour is a world phone? Tour has become the flagship?

  • http://twitter.com/BlackBerryCool/statuses/3689928069 BlackBerryCool (BlackBerry Coo

    BlackBerry Essex – the Tour with WiFi and new keypad http://bit.ly/jjfkb

  • http://twitter.com/dclifford/statuses/3690050735 dclifford (dclifford)

    RT @BlackBerryCool: BlackBerry Essex – the Tour with WiFi and new keypad http://bit.ly/jjfkb

  • http://twitter.com/bagustrim/statuses/3690178047 bagustrim (Bagus TM)

    BlackBerry Essex – the Tour with WiFi and new keypad http://bit.ly/jjfkb (via @BlackBerryCool)

  • http://twitter.com/bagustrim/statuses/3690178047 bagustrim (Bagus TM)

    BlackBerry Essex – the Tour with WiFi and new keypad http://bit.ly/jjfkb (via @BlackBerryCool)

  • http://twitter.com/lucktotheduck/statuses/3690223053 lucktotheduck (craig )

    @shidara @dalebanks RT @BlackBerryCool: BlackBerry Essex – the Tour with WiFi and new keypad http://bit.ly/jjfkb there it is….

  • http://twitter.com/pungkas/statuses/3690628910 pungkas (.: Pungkas :.)

    RT @BlackBerryCool: BlackBerry Essex – the Tour with WiFi and new keypad http://bit.ly/jjfkb

  • http://twitter.com/buddingambition/statuses/3691761688 buddingambition (Budding Ambit

    RT @BlackBerryCool: BlackBerry Essex – the Tour with WiFi and new keypad http://bit.ly/jjfkb

  • xaml

    This picture was manipulated, see the “W” on the screen where it reads “Wi-Fi” and compare this to the “W” of “TWI Version”. Also it looks doctored after “3G, CDMA”.

  • xaml

    This picture was manipulated, see the “W” on the screen where it reads “Wi-Fi” and compare this to the “W” of “TWI Version”. Also it looks doctored after “3G, CDMA”.

  • Gryphon

    This seems to be a great phone, in fact it’s pretty much what I wanted on my Tour which I paid full cost for, this launching so soon would be highly upsetting unless Verizon did the most unlikely and upgraded current Tour owners.

  • Gryphon

    This seems to be a great phone, in fact it’s pretty much what I wanted on my Tour which I paid full cost for, this launching so soon would be highly upsetting unless Verizon did the most unlikely and upgraded current Tour owners.

  • ALex

    wow a newer tour… the tour isnt even 6months old yet. im disappointed in sprint, once again! I just got my tour on the day it came out and for what its worth i do like it. This new “essex” thing definitely should out do the tour if sprint is to put it on the market. And not little improvements either, major ones like touchscreen/querty, wifi, and a better camera, not to say that the tour’s cam is bad b/c it is very good. Now I wouldnt suggest getting rid of the trackball, well b/c that is kind of the defining feature in any blackberry but RIM could improve its response. All in all, if the essex is to be an upgraded tour than the name should remain as the tour perhaps with a different model #. With the intriduction of a touch screen/querty device all in one, RIM would definitely set the standard for the devices out that already have the said features. Blackberry makes, in my opinion, some of if not the best business oriented mobile devices on the market. To upgrade certain features and add the luxuries of a touch screen would without a doubt in my eyes send RIM over the top.

  • ALex

    wow a newer tour… the tour isnt even 6months old yet. im disappointed in sprint, once again! I just got my tour on the day it came out and for what its worth i do like it. This new “essex” thing definitely should out do the tour if sprint is to put it on the market. And not little improvements either, major ones like touchscreen/querty, wifi, and a better camera, not to say that the tour’s cam is bad b/c it is very good. Now I wouldnt suggest getting rid of the trackball, well b/c that is kind of the defining feature in any blackberry but RIM could improve its response. All in all, if the essex is to be an upgraded tour than the name should remain as the tour perhaps with a different model #. With the intriduction of a touch screen/querty device all in one, RIM would definitely set the standard for the devices out that already have the said features. Blackberry makes, in my opinion, some of if not the best business oriented mobile devices on the market. To upgrade certain features and add the luxuries of a touch screen would without a doubt in my eyes send RIM over the top.

  • Mark

    I recently lost my Samsung Instinct (with Sprint service)…I was very disappointed in that phone…It was the first phone I didn’t REALLY research before I bought it (I was going on vacation and needed a phone immediately), and I was greatly annoyed with myself for buying it without much info…So annoyed by that phone…Since I have to replace it, I thought I’d go with a BlackBerry since so many people love them so much…but when I researched the 9630 Tour, I found a lot of complaints about the trackball breaking…When I went to the local Sprint store, the girl recommended the 8330…and when I asked if it was due to the 9630′s trackball issues, she said “yes”….they apparently have a LOT of people having to replace their 9630s due to the trackball issues…I was bummed since my girlfriend is from Finland so I often travel to Europe and can’t use any other Sprint phone so I was looking forward to having a 9630 to throw a pre-paid SIM card in and use in Europe…but I don’t want to get an 8330 if there is a reasonable NEW BlackBerry coming out in a month or so…

    Damn do I hate annoying situations like this…

  • Mark

    I recently lost my Samsung Instinct (with Sprint service)…I was very disappointed in that phone…It was the first phone I didn’t REALLY research before I bought it (I was going on vacation and needed a phone immediately), and I was greatly annoyed with myself for buying it without much info…So annoyed by that phone…Since I have to replace it, I thought I’d go with a BlackBerry since so many people love them so much…but when I researched the 9630 Tour, I found a lot of complaints about the trackball breaking…When I went to the local Sprint store, the girl recommended the 8330…and when I asked if it was due to the 9630′s trackball issues, she said “yes”….they apparently have a LOT of people having to replace their 9630s due to the trackball issues…I was bummed since my girlfriend is from Finland so I often travel to Europe and can’t use any other Sprint phone so I was looking forward to having a 9630 to throw a pre-paid SIM card in and use in Europe…but I don’t want to get an 8330 if there is a reasonable NEW BlackBerry coming out in a month or so…

    Damn do I hate annoying situations like this…

  • http://CarbonJelly.com/ Pat

    I’m actually on my tour right now. Personally I love it, haven’t had a trackball problem and I’m a previous owner of the Curve. I do wish I had the wifi but all is well. Camera is amazing for a mobile phone not much better out there. Does the essex have the same traveling capabilities? Also, that photo could have easily been photoshop and… yes the buttons due look farther apart. One odd thing I like better than the Curve is that the weight its heavier but holds nicely in the hand. The curve was light and flimsey, I had little respect for it and so it was damaged easily.

  • http://CarbonJelly.com/ Pat

    I’m actually on my tour right now. Personally I love it, haven’t had a trackball problem and I’m a previous owner of the Curve. I do wish I had the wifi but all is well. Camera is amazing for a mobile phone not much better out there. Does the essex have the same traveling capabilities? Also, that photo could have easily been photoshop and… yes the buttons due look farther apart. One odd thing I like better than the Curve is that the weight its heavier but holds nicely in the hand. The curve was light and flimsey, I had little respect for it and so it was damaged easily.

  • http://CarbonJelly.com Pat

    I’m actually on my tour right now. Personally I love it, haven’t had a trackball problem and I’m a previous owner of the Curve. I do wish I had the wifi but all is well. Camera is amazing for a mobile phone not much better out there. Does the essex have the same traveling capabilities? Also, that photo could have easily been photoshop and… yes the buttons due look farther apart. One odd thing I like better than the Curve is that the weight its heavier but holds nicely in the hand. The curve was light and flimsey, I had little respect for it and so it was damaged easily.

  • arlan

    Anyone know when the Essex is due out kinda waiting for it myself

  • arlan

    Anyone know when the Essex is due out kinda waiting for it myself

  • http://princessichigo.multiply.com/ alice

    i have a tour and a bold, but i prefer tour, does the essex and tour size is exactly the same? thx

  • http://princessichigo.multiply.com alice

    i have a tour and a bold, but i prefer tour, does the essex and tour size is exactly the same? thx

  • joe

    fake the call button is upside down on the new essex

  • joe

    fake the call button is upside down on the new essex