For those potential users and developers waiting to see what will happen with the inevitable BlackBerry X10, a QWERTY-equipped phone based on the BB10 operating system, developer versions will be distributed after the January 30th announcement of the Z10.
This comes from RIM spokesperson Victoria Berry stressed that the SDK, or software developer kit, will be made available to developers once the full-touch BlackBerry 10 device is revealed. The QWERTY-equipped variant will have a different screen resolution than its rectangular counterpart and will necessitate some reworking by developers if they want to provide the same experience.
These developer devices, called Dev Alpha C, will be given to developers in the weeks following the big reveal on January 30th, less than two weeks from now. RIM is promising 70,000 BlackBerry 10-compatible apps at launch, though there is no word on how many of them will work with the X10 — also known as the N-Series — out of the box.
The BlackBerry Z10 is expected to have a 16:9 ratio, with a resolution of 1280×768, while the X10 is expected to have a 1:1 ratio at 720×720. This will require a small retooling of certain apps, and a larger reworking for games that default to a 16:9.
RIM is pushing very hard to get its development community to port apps and games to BlackBerry 10. It’s been running online events called Port-A-Thons, where devs can obtain help from seasoned RIM employees and volunteers to optimize their software for the new platform. Each approved app earns the developer $100, up to $2000 per person. While this engenders a tendency for promoting quantity over quality, it’s also giving developers an opportunity to earn some much-needed cash from the exhaustive time spent converting existing apps to the nascent operating system. RIM is likely to do a similar due diligence for the X10, whenever it is announced.
While RIM is certainly emphasizing large touchscreen devices as the future of BlackBerry 10, it hasn’t– and likely never will — abandoned its core group of keyboard-loving users. The BlackBerry X10 looks to be a natural replacement for the millions of Bold 9000 and 9900 users, many of whom are tired of the BB7 OS but rely on its secure network and excellent keyboard for work or communication.