Research in Motion has announced a new BlackBerry 10 prototype device, which, like traditional BlackBerry handsets, features a physical QWERTY keyboard. The device is designed to give developers the opportunity to test their BB10 apps with physical keys, with RIM’s original BB10 prototype being an entirely touch-based device.
There will be 1,500 prototypes available, RIM announced during BlackBerry Jam Asia, and their distribution to developers will depend on a new points system. Pocket-lint reports that BlackBerry developers will be scored on all kinds of different criteria — including how many apps they currently have in BlackBerry App World — and those with the most points will receive a handset.
For example, developers get 50 points if their apps are ported from Android, 250 points for all other native apps, all the way up to 1,500 points for a Built For BlackBerry certified application. Those with the biggest point scores will get priority access to the new prototype devices.
RIM is also promising that when its BB10 devices go public, it will swap the prototype for a final production handset.
Unfortunately, images of the handset are yet to appear.