In a nod to the devoted base of customers who've stayed loyal to RIM's BlackBerry, the company announced a BB10 model smartphone running its new Blackberry 10 operating system and incorporating a full physical keyboard, The Washington Post reported Thursday..
At its BlackBerry Jam Asia event, the company announced it is releasing a limited number of prototype models to developers to let them adjust their apps for QWERTY input.
Only developers building two or more apps for the system are eligible to get the phones, RIM said, and those creating apps specifically for the BlackBerry OS will get higher priority than those adapting apps from other operating systems such as Android to BlackBerry 10.
Attracting developers to the new operating system is essential for RIM's future, with the company saying the focus of its Blackberry App World will be "meaningful" programs appealing to its business-centered customers.
The BlackBerry 10 OS is expected to launch January 30 with two smartphones to debut soon after the system goes live, the Post reported.