BlackBerry Essex - the Tour with WiFi

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.


15 Responses to “BlackBerry Essex - the Tour with WiFi”

  1. 1 Rey

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

  2. 2 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?

  3. 3 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!

  4. 4 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.

  5. 5 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.

  6. 6 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.

  7. 7 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.

  8. 8 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.

  9. 9 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?

  10. 10 BlackBerryCool (BlackBerry Cool)

    BlackBerry Essex - the Tour with WiFi and new keypad

  11. 11 dclifford (dclifford)

    RT @BlackBerryCool: BlackBerry Essex - the Tour with WiFi and new keypad

  12. 12 bagustrim (Bagus TM)

    BlackBerry Essex - the Tour with WiFi and new keypad (via @BlackBerryCool)

  13. 13 lucktotheduck (craig )

    @shidara @dalebanks RT @BlackBerryCool: BlackBerry Essex - the Tour with WiFi and new keypad there it is….

  14. 14 pungkas (.: Pungkas :.)

    RT @BlackBerryCool: BlackBerry Essex - the Tour with WiFi and new keypad

  15. 15 buddingambition (Budding Ambition)

    RT @BlackBerryCool: BlackBerry Essex - the Tour with WiFi and new keypad

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