RIM promises new BlackBerry prototype in May

RIM will be giving away prototype BlackBerry 10 devices to developers attending its annual BlackBerry World Conference in early May. According to Bloomberg, RIM's VP of developer relations Alec Saunders revealed in a phone interview today that as many as 2,000 units of the prototype device will be given out to developers to get a head start building applications for the next-gen QNX-based platform.

The announcement comes amid news of slumping BlackBerry sales and waning developer interest in the much delayed platform transition that won't see the launch of new BlackBerry 10 devices until late 2012. The arrival of the prototypes in May is a positive sign that the company is still on track, but Saunders emphasized that those test models will be very different from the actual handsets that will hit the market.

The new BB10 platform will basically be the same as what's currently running on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, which has about 10,000 apps that should easily port over to the new BB10 smartphones. The prototypes will be given out to attendees of the BlackBerry Jam event from May 1 to 3, which will run alongside the BlackBerry World Conference in Orlando, Florida.