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New BlackBerry phones a no-show at BlackBerry World

Research In Motion will use its upcoming conference to unveil its BlackBerry 10 platform, but don't expect any new products to make an appearance.

The BlackBerry 9900 made its debut at last year's BlackBerry World event. No phones will be shown off this time around.

Eager to see Research In Motion's latest and greatest phones at BlackBerry World next week? Prepare to be disappointed.

RIM will be taking a software-heavy approach this year, using the event to formally unveil its BlackBerry 10 operating system.

"We are not unveiling any BlackBerry 10 hardware," a company representative confirmed to CNET.

There's never been a more crucial BlackBerry World than this next event. The annual confab is a chance for BlackBerry developers, product enthusiasts, and business partners to take in RIM's latest and future wares. This year, RIM has the added task of convincing its shrinking band of supporters that the company is still worth taking a chance on amid declining market share and the notion that it is too far gone to be saved.

Its single hope: the BlackBerry 10 platform build on QNX, which also powers its PlayBook software. The platform represents a break from its older -- almost archaic -- BlackBerry operating system and is the company's best hope at mounting a comeback. CEO Thorsten Heins sees it more than simple software for phones; he said during the last quarterly conference call that he believes multiple devices beyond phones will emerge from BlackBerry 10.

His strategy isn't unique; Google's Android and Apple's iOS both power multiple types of mobile devices, while Microsoft's Windows 8 will be extended to PCs, laptops, and tablets.

RIM will make its case that it too should be included in the conversation next week at BlackBerry World in Orlando, Fla. The company plans to launch a beta version of its BlackBerry 10 toolkit. Developers in attendance will also be getting a Dev Alpha device, according to a RIM representative. The device, however, isn't a BlackBerry 10 phone, nor will it be running the software.

The event will also likely be a showcase for the apps that are currently being developed for BlackBerry 10. A few developers will be showing off demonstrations of what they are building for BlackBerry 10.

Still, the lack of hardware has to be disappointing to some BlackBerry fans who were expecting a strong showing at the event. Last year, RIM used the conference to debut its BlackBerry Bold 9900, its flagship phone last year. The phone marked the first device to use its BlackBerry 7 operating system, which was an update of its older platform.

RIM has maintained that it plans to launch the first BlackBerry 10 phone in the second half, with some speculation that it may emerge in August and hit stores in October.