Research in Motion announced last week that it is due to release a prototype Blackberry 10 handset with a physical keyboard for app developers to test various applications as it prepares to launch it’s new platform early in 2013.
The company announced the handset as part of their developer forum ‘Jam’ Asia in Bangkok. This will be a welcome development for Blackberry users who have heavily rejected previous touch keyboards that RIM have tried to introduce, and somewhat controversially applied to their original Blackberry 10 handset. Whilst millions of iPhone and Samsung users embrace touch technology, RIM have faced a strong backlash from their users who have refused to accept a Blackberry is better with a touch screen keyboard.
This is an important announcement from RIM as it has ambitious plans to make a success of their BB10 app store. This is to show that the platform has a future but also that the company is on the road to recovery following a rather turbulent 18 months.
Also for app developers, RIM added that it will update its BB10 software development kit on December 11. This version will add support for installing the BlackBerry 10 IDE on Mac OS X, an update to the Visual Studio Plug-In beta, forward compatibility for BlackBerry WebWorks HTML5 apps, then sensor and orientation APIs for BlackBerry WebWorks.
Time will tell whether this will turn around the fortunes of a company that once dominated the mobile market. Does RIM and their Blackberry handsets still have a place for high quality mobile apps? Let us know what you think.