BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) this week distributed to developers the first smartphone that runs the company's next-generation BlackBerry 10 mobile OS. The smartphone, called the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha device, won't ever be publicly released; instead it's meant to help developers build and improve BlackBerry 10 applications, so their software is ready when BlackBerry 10 officially launches later this year.
I asked RIM multiple times for a full list of the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha device's technical specifications, but I never received that list. I was, however, able to piece together a partial specs list by talking to various RIM product managers and other reps, including RIM's VP of Handheld Software Product Management, Andrew Bocking.
I'm not going to offer up many first impressions here, since this device really isn't meant for public use. I will say that it is exactly like a mini BlackBerry PlayBook, and the experience right now is very similar. The BlackBerry 10 Alpha Dev only comes with browser, camera and setup applications installed, and RIM says even those are not the versions that will ship with BlackBerry 10 in the future.
Here's a quick list of features and additional details, though again, these relate only to the developer device and not any upcoming BlackBerry 10 devices.
- Software version: BlackBerry 10 Developer Preview V 10.0.4.197
- Display: 1280x768 HD LCD (356ppi) touch screen
- size: 4.2 inches in height
- 16GB of built-in storage
- front facing camera (no flash) and rear-facing camera with flash
- micro SIM slot for cellular connectivity (quad-band HSPA+, no LTE support)
- fixed battery that cannot be removed or replaced by the user
- mini HDMI out port
- micro USB port
- 3.5 mm standard headset jack
- front facing notification LED
Though these are only the specs for the BlackBerry 10 Alpha device, one thing in particular jumps out at me: The fixed, non-removable battery. I couldn't get any sort of answer out of RIM as to whether or not the first official BlackBerry 10 device will have a fixed battery, but I have a feeling that it too will be stuck with a battery that's not user-replaceable. And that's not a good thing—here's why.
For a closer look at the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha smartphone, jump over to some related photos. And see BlackBerry 10 in action in the following video clip.