It looks like a smaller version of RIM's PlayBook tablet, complete with a touch-sensitive frame that a user swipes to call up a menu.
The new platform will be compatible with few of the apps available for its existing smartphones, and legacy BlackBerry smartphones won't be able to run apps being created for the new platform.
The toolkits RIM is offering cover work in native code, the Cascades user interface framework and web-based HTML5.
The prototype device, known as the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha, has a 4.2-inch screen with a resolution of 1280 x 768 pixels. It has Micro USB for debugging and charging.
Research In Motion's new chief executive Thorsten Heins unveiled a newly-designed BlackBerry smartphone prototype powered by a re-imagined operating system - BlackBerry 10 OS.
He revealed features of the BlackBerry 10 operating system running on a prototype device at the company's BlackBerry World conference in Orlando. He provided no update on the software's launch date.
It has a touchscreen, but no physical keyboard like most BlackBerry models. It, in fact, has a virtual keyboard. One of the new features is a modified touchscreen keypad that will allow users to select full words with a single key stroke.
The company offered initial software tools to developers looking to create applications for its new BlackBerry 10 platform, thereby moving a step closer to perhaps the most crucial launch in its history later this year.
Aiming to reverse huge market-share losses to Apple Inc and Google Inc's Android, RIM is essentially starting from scratch with its next-generation BlackBerry 10 devices.
RIM already is far behind Apple and Android in getting independent developers and content producers to build apps, making the BlackBerry much less attractive to consumers. RIM is looking to change that.