RIM preps developers for BlackBerry 10 QWERTY smartphone

Developers will be able to trade in their Alpha devices for a limited edition BlackBerry 10 smartphone

Research In Motion has introduced the BlackBerry Dev Alpha C, a smartphone developers can use to test their applications and get ready for the launch of the BlackBerry 10 QWERTY device next year. The company also said developers will be able to trade their Alpha devices for a fully functional limited edition BlackBerry 10 smartphone.

Step-by-step, RIM is getting developers ready for the Jan. 30 launch of BlackBerry 10, when the company will introduce one all-touch smartphone and one more traditional model with a QWERTY keyboard.

RIM has already distributed 7,500 all-touch testing devices to developers; its latest move aims to ensure that applications can run on the QWERTY smartphone as well, the company said in a blog post on Thursday.

RIM isn't providing any technical details on the BlackBerry Dev Alpha C, but does detail what developers have to do to get their hands on one.

The company is only making a limited number of phones, and they will be reserved on a priority list for developers who have demonstrated that they are building at least two apps for BlackBerry 10.

Developers' rankings on the list are based on a point scheme, where developers get 50 points for ported Android applications; 250 points for native, WebWorks and Adobe Air applications; and 1500 points for applications certified using the Built For BlackBerry program, according to the blog post.

Developers who already have an Alpha all-touch device or are a BlackBerry Elite member will start with 200 points.

Interested developers can register on the BlackBerry developers web site.

As a thank-you, developers will be able to trade their BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha testing device for a limited edition BlackBerry 10 smartphone, RIM also said.

The limited edition devices will be shipping after the Jan. 30 launch, according to an FAQ.

To get their hands on one developers have to submit a BlackBerry 10 app that needs to be approved by RIM, and, of course, they need an Alpha device to trade in.

On Thursday, RIM also detailed an updated beta version of the runtime for Android Apps on BlackBerry 10 and a new version of the BlackBerry 10 WebWorks SDK on the Inside BlackBerry Developer Blog.

The runtime allows Android applications to run on top of BlackBerry 10. The new beta adds support for push as well as the ambient light and proximity sensors in BlackBerry 10, the company said.

The BlackBerry 10 WebWorks SDK allows web developers to create BlackBerry apps using technologies such as HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript.

Applications built using the new version will run on the latest BlackBerry 10 OS beta version as well as future OS updates, according to RIM. There will be more APIs to the SDK, but a binary compiled with the SDK will continue to run on BlackBerry 10, it said.

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