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In an effort to start building up a more robust app ecosystem for BlackBerry 10, RIM offered every developer in the audience a prototype device, which it called the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha, running a beta version of the software.
Heins stressed to developers that the software they would see is not a final product but said that BlackBerry 10 is still on track to launch later this year and RIM is meeting all of its development milestones.
"This is not the full box yet that we have disclosed to you," he said. "But gives you an idea of what this platform is capable of."
Today, RIM's app offerings pale in comparison to those from Apple and Google. According to mobile market researcher Mobilewalla, Apple's iOS platform hosts more than 600,000 apps, while Google’s Android has about 350,000. RIM has 125,000.
But the company did emphasize Tuesday its aim of growing this number before the launch of BlackBerry 10, and said its Dev Alpha devices were intended to give developers a head start.
"We are 100 percent committed to the application partners on our platform," said Martyn Mallick, vice president of global alliances and business development at RIM, who took the stage after Heins and Bhardwaj. "We know enabling your success drives our success."
RIM in March reported a loss of $125 million for its fourth-quarter fiscal earnings, as its BlackBerry shipments continued to wane. Heins pointed to BlackBerry 10 as the company’s best shot at signing on new users and ensuring the loyalty of its traditional enterprise customer base.
"I'm confident in our future and look forward to delivering on our commitments with each and every one of you," he said Tuesday.