BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha hands on and keyboard demo

Earlier today we gave you details about the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha handset, produced specifically for developers’ use. It’s a pre-taster of what we can expect from BlackBerry 10 smartphones for general release when they finally arrive. Although the device at present is bare bones only, we now have news of a hands-on look at the handset and also a keyboard demo.

It’s no secret that the QNX-based BlackBerry 10 OS is of vital importance to RIM’s future success and so providing developers with a Dev Alpha phone is useful preparation for the finished devices, expected in the fall. Engadget managed to get a hands-on look at the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha phone although the experience was limited as it was loaded with the BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0. Nevertheless some information was gleaned from the look.

Our previous post gave you the specifications of this handset so check that out for more details. The only extra information regarding specs that has come to light is that the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha phone has 1GB of RAM. The display was noted by Engadget as very impressive with a “stunning” 1280 x 768 resolution and one of the best they’d seen yet. The viewing angles were described as “above average” and there was good color saturation and it’s hoped that this will come to fruition on the final handsets for release.

Design-wise the handset has a large bezel facilitating gesture support and the reverse features a matte and rubber finish for good grip although the squareness of the design was said to make the phone uncomfortable to hold after a period of time. For a handset purely intended for developers this one seemed pretty impressive. We also have news of a BlackBerry 10 keyboard demo, this time from CrackBerry who remind us that the first BlackBerry 10 phone is likely to be full-touchscreen.

As many BlackBerry users might prefer a QWERTY keyboard this has meant that RIM has put a lot of effort into developing a BlackBerry 10 on-screen keyboard that can compete with its excellent physical examples. A video from BlackBerry World 2012 shows the BlackBerry 10 keyboard experience and some of its key features including predictive text and gesture controls. We’ve embedded that video below this story for you to view.

As developers get used to the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha handset there will be many devoted BlackBerry users hoping that RIM manages to pull something out of the bag with the new BlackBerry handsets when they launch and we’ll be keeping track of further developments. Are you used to using a BlackBerry with a physical keyboard? If so, do you think you could be converted by the on-screen keyboard as shown in the video?

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