By Khurram Aziz | Nov 29, 2012 12:19 PM EST
In the run up to the launch of its revamped BlackBerry 10 OS, Research in Motion (RIM) has announced a new smartphone which will feature its trademark QWERTY keyboard.
Unlike the Dev Alpha and Dev Alpha B phones that the company has shown off already, the Dev Alpha C phone being doled out to app developers will have both a touchscreen and the classic BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard. The phone is still a prototype and will likely become the first 'N Series' BlackBerry 10 phone that will launch in 2013.
RIM revealed the phone during its BlackBerry Jam Asia event and is looking for developers to sign up to its program and start making apps ready for the launch.
The Dev Alpha and Dev Alpha B phones are likely to become the touchscreen-only L Series model, which developers have been using to test apps on for a couple of months now. Soon they will get the chance to see if their apps work on BlackBerry 10 phones that also feature a tactile keyboard.
The first BlackBerry 10 smartphones, likely to be the L Series, will be available in January and CEO Thorstein Heins previously said QWERTY fans may have to wait some months after to see a device with a keyboard.
RIM is looking for developers to sign up to develop apps for BlackBerry 10 and the top 1,500 applicants will be put to the top of a waiting list to receive a prototype of the Dev Alpha C phone.
Over 7,500 purely touchscreen handsets have already been given out to developers to encourage as many as possible to build apps for the new operating system. RIM hopes its new App World, renamed BlackBerry World, will be a serious challenger to Apple's App Store and Android's Google Play.
Developers looking to guarantee themselves top position in BlackBerry world will be given the Gold APK on Dec.11, providing everything required to complete apps before the Jan. 21,2013, deadline.
RIM, a former market leader in smartphone technology has struggled in the face of competition from Apple, devices running Google's Android OS, and now Microsoft's own smartphone offerings. It's hoping that BlackBerry 10 will revive its fortunes and save it from terminal decline.