RIM unveils Blackberry 10 developer toolkit and prototype handset


Research In Motion (RIM) has released an app developer toolkit for people who want to get a head start on creating apps for the firm's upcoming Blackberry 10 device.

The toolkit is available in beta and is free to download and can be used to create applications using HTML 5 or Blackberry's own native code.

The firm has yet to confirm a release date for the Blackberry 10, but has indicated that it will ship at some point later this year.

Christopher Smith, vice president of handheld application platform and tools at RIM, said the contents of the toolkit will be revised as the launch date for the Blackberry 10 approaches.

"Developers can use this first beta of the tools to get started building apps for Blackberry 10 and as the tools evolve over the coming months, developers will have access to a rich API set that will allow them to build even more integrated apps."

Developers have told us they wanted hardware to test on before the platform launches and we are delivering

The company revealed that applications designed for use with the Blackberry 10 will also run on the vendor's tablet PC, the Playbook.

The toolkit's release coincides with the first day of the BlackberryWorld and Blackberry Jam events in Florida, United States.

During the latter, developers were given a Blackberry 10 prototype, which boasts a 4.2 in screen, microSIM and microUSB for charging purposes, to bolster their application development efforts.

However, in a Blackberry blog post published earlier today, the firm insisted the device was definitely not the finished article.

The BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha is not a BlackBerry 10 smartphone for end users nor does it run the final BlackBerry 10 software," said the post. "It's been created just for our developer partners to help them prepare for the launch of BlackBerry 10."

The firm added that having access to a device would make it easier for developers to create applications.

"You can test your apps on real hardware to work out interface, ergonomic and usability issues," it added.

"Developers have told us they wanted hardware to test on before the platform launches and we are delivering."

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.