BlackBerry unveils developers-only red Z10, updates SDK for Q10

BlackBerry has updated its developer tools to allow devs to prepare their apps for the launch of the Qwerty-equipped Q10 in April. It also introduced a limited edition red version of the touchscreen Z10.

BlackBerry, formerly known as Research In Motion, has updated its BlackBerry 10 SDK to add support for the Qwerty-equipped Q10 handset , due to launch in the coming months.

The Canadian handset maker made the announcement at its BlackBerry Jam Europe developer event in Amsterdam on Tuesday. It's the first developer-focused event for the company since the public introduction of the first handsets to use the BlackBerry 10 OS on 30 January.

Alex Saunders
Alec Saunders, introducing the limited edition BlackBerry Z10 in red - only for developers. Image: Ben Woods/ZDNet

"I have never seen as much excitement and enthusiasm for a platform that compares to what we are seeing with BlackBerry 10," Alec Saunders, vice president of ecosystem and developer relations, said in a statement.

While the update to BlackBerry 10.1 SDK is relatively minor (and also includes an update to the WebWorks SDK), it gives developers the tools they need to start developing for the Q10, which uses a different screen resolution because of the Qwerty keyboard.

Apps built for BlackBerry 10 using the Cascades framework will automatically resize when it detects a new resolution, such as the 720 x 720 pixels of the Q10. In most cases, developers can keep the same core code and simply update the assets in order to make an app compatible for the Q10.

The updated SDK also includes a new BlackBerry Q10 simulator, and BlackBerry said its app store, BlackBerry World was now accepting submissions for Q10-targeted apps in anticipation of its launch in April.

BlackBerry also announced the introduction of a red model Z10 produced as a one-off limited edition run of 12,000 units. The handset will be offered only to developers who created BlackBerry 10 apps in time for launch as a way of showing loyalty to its supporters. Applications will be accepted until 28 February.

"12,000 Limited Edition smartphones are being built exclusively for developers who created apps in time for launch. Developers who had previously qualified to receive a BlackBerry Dev Alpha A or B testing device, and who have an application submitted on BlackBerry World, may apply to swap the testing device unit for the red, limited edition model of the BlackBerry Z10," the company said.

In order to get things up and running on the Qwerty app front, BlackBerry also opened a new seeding programme for its Dev C devices, which come with a keyboard, although there's a strict qualification criteria.

Dev Alpha C
The Dev Alpha C. Image: Ben Woods

The device uses mostly the same specs as the Q10, upon which it was based.


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