RIM has officially launched its BlackBerry 10 platform over at BlackBerry World in Florida, with the initial beta of the developer toolkit being released.
The beta toolkit is available as a free download now, and is designed for native and HTML5 software development. The idea is to get app developers kick-started right now, well before BlackBerry 10 handsets emerge - as RIM clearly realises the vital importance of the app ecosystem.
Christopher Smith, Vice President, Handheld Application Platform and Tools at RIM, commented: "There is tremendous interest, anticipation and momentum building toward the launch of BlackBerry 10 devices, and today we're extremely excited to release the BlackBerry 10 developer beta tools for general use."
"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. The toolkit we are delivering today also meets developers on their own terms."
He added: "BlackBerry 10 will empower developers to create attractive and compelling apps that excite customers."
The toolkit includes the BlackBerry 10 native software development kit with Cascades, which the company notes will allow devs to create visually lush, high performance native applications, without having to write complicated, low-level graphics code.
Apps created with the BlackBerry 10 tools will run on BB10 smartphones, and PlayBook tablets, when the platform is pushed out to RIM's slates; although the recent BlackBerry OS 2.0 gives an idea of how the BlackBerry 10 OS might operate.
The company also gave out BlackBerry 10 "Dev Alpha" devices to developers, which is the prototype testing phone to help facilitate the development of apps, as quickly as possible.
RIM knows it must not get BlackBerry 10 wrong, with the company having suffered sliding financial results, a floundering tablet, and a nose-diving smartphone market share. According to the latest IDC figures, RIM's smartphone market share has dropped to 6.3 per cent (from 16.3 per cent at the start of 2011).
The notion that BlackBerry 10 is too little, too late, is one that RIM cannot afford to entertain; check out the video demo of the BB10 OS below.