BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha freebies can't save RIM's stock

RIM may be handing out BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha devices to all and sundry at BlackBerry World 2012, but the company is stressing hard that consumers shouldn't expect to see the pixel-dense prototype on store shelves. Intended to give developers a real-world device on which to trial their BlackBerry 10 SDK efforts on, the Dev Alpha may well end up being significantly different to what goes on sale later in 2012. The absence of any hard news on RIM's commercial launch plans has seen shares in the company take a dive.

RIM is down over 5-percent today after investors reacted poorly to the official launch of BlackBerry 10 yesterday. The company cherry-picked some of the platform's more eye-catching functionality, such as a predictive keyboard which floats suggestions across the keys, but failed to commit to the specific launch dates consumers and the industry had hoped for.

Instead, it promised increased developer support, as well as a fund to ensure that BlackBerry 10 app creators would make at least $10,000 in their first year. Although the specs of the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha device – which include a 4.2-inch 1280 x 768 display and HDMI connectivity – are impressive enough, RIM was at pains to minimize expectations.

"This is a prototype device created for the purpose of testing BlackBerry 10 applications during development. Did I mention it's a prototype?" RIM wrote on its official blog. "The BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha is not a BlackBerry 10 smartphone for end users nor does it run the final BlackBerry 10 software – it's been created just for our developer partners to help them prepare for the launch of BlackBerry 10."

That disclaimer, and the absence of any more solid details for end-users, has worked against RIM this week.