Here’s some good news for you RIM aficionados out there looking forward to the latest Bold smartphone, the 9650 (formerly referred to as the Essex/Tour 2).

BlackBerry Bold 9650 FCC approved

It’s gotten approved by the FCC, and is actually scheduled to be released on the 23rd of this month on Sprint with possibility of Verizon following suit thereafter. No confirmation yet if it will be released in Canada, but given that most of the major carriers are now offering the Bold 9700, it won’t exactly be surprising if this too gets released in the country.

As a quick refresher, the BlackBerry Bold 9650 sports a 3.2-megapixel camera, WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth, and CDMA EV-DO connectivity as well as HSPA/UMTS (2100MHz) network support. It now comes with more memory (512MB up from 256MB) although its battery is less (1400mAh) powerful than the one found on its older sibling, the Bold 9700 (1500mAh). At first glance, its hard to tell the 9650 apart from the 9700, but this newer Bold smartphone is actually slightly bigger and heavier than its predecessor.