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RIM issues QWERTY BlackBerry 10 device to developers

Research In Motion is gearing up for the 2013 launch of BlackBerry 10, and the company has now announced the availability of a BlackBerry 10 testing device that will feature the company's signature QWERTY keyboard.

Developers can now apply to receive the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha C, which will allow them to test out applications that utilise a physical, QWERTY keyboard rather than a touch-screen display.

According to RIM, however, only a limited number of the testing devices will be produced. "They will be reserved on a priority list for developers who have demonstrated that they are building apps for BlackBerry 10," the company said in a blog post.

Priority access to the Dev Alpha C will be given to those who submit two or more apps. A point system will then be used to prioritise those on the shortlist: 50 points for ported Android apps, 250 points for all other apps, and 1,500 points for Built For BlackBerry certified apps. Additionally, BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha A/B recipients and BlackBerry Elite Members automatically start with 200 points.

RIM handed out the first BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha devices at BlackBerry World in May, but the phone was a touch-screen device. Since then, RIM has distributed more than 7,500 devices to developers. For more, see Hands On With the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha.

The BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha C offer runs from 1 December through to 5 February. BlackBerry 10 is expected to launch on 30 January, at which time RIM will also unveil two new BlackBerry smartphones.