Research in Motion (RIM) has added further momentum to its BlackBerry 10 developer programme with updated software development kit (SDK) tools and a new BlackBerry Dev Alpha C handset sporting a physical keyboard.
"Developers from around the world are joining us on the last leg of the journey to the launch of BlackBerry 10 and we are thrilled at the enthusiasm we see from them. We have worked hard, and continue to work hard to meet the needs of developers," said Alec Saunders, RIM's vice president for developer relations.
As well as a BlackBerry 10 SDK Update, RIM launched its BlackBerry App Generator powered by Mippin; officially opened its Built for BlackBerry certification lab for app submissions; and unveiled a partnership with Appcelerator to enable developers to create BlackBerry 10 apps using its Titanium platform.
However, possibly the most significant news is the availability of a BlackBerry Dev Alpha C handset with a physical keyboard, aimed at developers with a pressing need to test out applications that call for heavy text input.
As with the earlier Dev Alpha devices, this will not be representative of the production handsets RIM is set to unveil in January, which will comprise models with both a physical keyboard and a touchscreen only. Developers can sign up to qualify for a Dev Alpha C handset on RIM's website.
Developers currently testing applications on a BlackBerry Dev Alpha device will also be able to swap it for a production handset, provided they apply before 21 January and have an app submitted and approved on BlackBerry App World.
The BlackBerry 10 SDK update adds support for the BlackBerry 10 developer environment on Mac OS X, as well as an updated Visual Studio Plug-In and enhancements to BlackBerry WebWorks for HTML5 apps.
The BlackBerry 10 SDKs are set to come out of beta on December 11, RIM said.
As RIM's Built for BlackBerry certification lab opens its doors, the firm re-iterated its revenue guarantee promise. Under that guarantee, developers will get at least $10,000 for apps approved through the Built for BlackBerry programme, providing they earn a minimum of $1,000 in a year.
Meanwhile, the BlackBerry App Generator, powered by Mippin, can now take existing apps built with BlackBerry App generator and automatically create a BlackBerry 10 version, then publish it to BlackBerry App World, RIM said.
The first 1,000 developers who create or port an application for BlackBerry 10 using Appcelerator's Titanium platform will be eligible to receive a free BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha device for testing and a year's free Appcelerator access, RIM said.
Appcelerator Titanium is a cross-platform development tool for targeting mobile, tablet and desktop devices using web technologies.
Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.