BlackBerry has confirmed that it will be giving developers a limited edition developer prototype device at its developer conference, BlackBerry Jam, in Orlando in May in preparation for BlackBerry OS 10 when it comes out later this year.

The new device, dubbed the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha, RIM says, not a BlackBerry 10 smartphone, but a prototype running a modified version of the BlackBerry PlayBook OS which will help developers design their apps for the BlackBerry 10 smartphone form factor.

"Just to be 100 per cent clear, it’s not the final hardware or OS for BlackBerry 10, it’s a device to help developers get started with designing for what’s coming," says Research In Motion on the BlackBerry blog.

Customers keen to get their hands on the new device will have to either go to the event, become friendly with someone going to the event, or watch eBay for when someone who has been tried to flog their device. The BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha will only be for developers, not mere mortals like the public, and is only available to developer attendees at BlackBerry 10 Jam.

The move - which follows similar moves by Microsoft before it officially launched Windows Phone 7 in 2010 - should mean that when the new operating system and new hardware launch at the end of the year, there will be plenty of apps available for the new platform.

Pocket-lint is attending BlackBerry Jam and will bring you all the latest news as it happens - PAY MONTHLY PHONES The Samsung Galaxy S10+ is now available on EE who have been awarded the UK’s best network for the fifth year running. RootMetrics tested the four UK networks and EE was faster and more reliable than all of them, with better data performance. Their network has come a long way since they launched in 2012. Back then they had 11 UK cities covered by 4G. Today they cover most of the UK’s land mass, thanks to 19,000 state-of-the-art 4G sites. They’ve got faster, too – from 50Mbps to a maximum speed of 400Mbps. And they’re soon to experience even greater possibilities with the launch of 5G.