Research In Motion plans to give software developers prototypes running the new BlackBerry 10 software in early May, according to Bloomberg News.
Alec Saunders, RIM's vice president of developer relations said the company will hand out as many as 2,000 devices using the BlackBerry 10 software at the company's BlackBerry Jam conference in Orlando, Fla. in early May.
Saunders said that the fact that RIM will be handing out so many device with the new software is an important step forward for the development of the software.
"It's tangible evidence of the company making progress to finally shipping the device," he said in the interview.
Saunders also said that the design of the test model as well as the navigation of the device will look very different from that of the final product. This test model is simply to give developers the software so they can create apps for the upcoming devices.
RIM uses the same software that will be on the BB10 devices on its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. There are currently about 10,000 apps for the PlayBook, which has been a big flop in terms of retail sales. Saunders said those apps should port to the BB10 devices.
The company has said in the past that new phones running BlackBerry 10 will be introduced later this year.
It's do or die time for RIM. The company has not had a hit product in some time. And it's been steadily losing market share to rivals Apple and Google. The new BlackBerry 10 software is RIM's last chance to come up with products that can compete. But the longer that RIM stays out of the game as it pulls its software together, the harder it will be take on its rapidly expanding rivals.