A BlackBerry handset is displayed in Washington
A BlackBerry handset is displayed in Washington, December 15, 2011.

The makers of the BlackBerry smartphone - Research in Motion (RiM) - are reportedly planning to give software developers a prototype BlackBerry 10 device, to help them develop better applications. The new smartphone is expected to run an updated version of the software in the company's PlayBook tablet, reports Reuters.

However, the company has clarified the device will not be the one that is expected to launch later this year.

"It is not the final hardware or OS - it is a device to help developers gets started with designing for what is coming," Alex Kinsella, Social Media Manager at RiM, said to Reuters.

The device, reportedly codenamed BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha - will be given to developers attending the annual Blackberry World Conference of RiM, to be held in Orlando, Florida in early May.

Approximately 2,000 test units will be distributed. These should allow developers to build applications using the underlying Operating System, Alec Saunders, the company's Vice President of Developer Relations said to Bloomberg.

"It is a huge step forward on our path to eventually launching BB10. It is tangible evidence of the company making progress to finally shipping the device," he added.

Saunders further said the design of the test models, including feature's like the display and navigation will be different from the final product.

"The experience on this device from a consumer's perspective is not in any way indicative of what the final experience on BlackBerry 10 will be like. We are holding that back to create the interest around that at launch time," he added, "This is a tool the developer can use to get a jumpstart to build applications that will be great on a BlackBerry 10 device in the future."