Beleaguered smart phone maker RIM on Tuesday launched its last-ditch effort to resuscitate the Blackberry platform, product line, and brand, announcing Blackberry 10 at its Blackberry World 2012 Conference in Orlando, Florida. As usual, questions immediately arise about whether it’s already too late for RIM and Blackberry.

“BlackBerry 10 builds upon the core values and exceptional user experiences that have attracted more than 77 million BlackBerry customers around the world today,” RIM vice president Alec Saunders said. “Developers building for BlackBerry 10 will be able to easily create the kind of cutting-edge apps that deliver truly engaging experiences and ‘wow’ customers, whether through integration with native features and other apps like BBM or by leveraging the new signature design elements of this new and powerful mobile computing platform.”

RIM handed out prototype Blackberry 10 devices to developers this week as well as a beta developer toolkit for the BlackBerry 10 platform. Together, these will allow developers to get up to speed on Blackberry 10 developments months before actual shipping devices hit the marketplace. This is unprecedented for RIM, but required by its falling market share: The company knows that if it launched Blackberry 10 without a solid library of new apps, it would be dead in the water.

While the prototype device that RIM handed out to developers doesn’t represent shipping hardware—it can’t even make or receive phone calls, much like an iPhone (cough)—it provides some hints about the future with its 4.2 inch screen running at a high 768 x 1280 resolution. It features micro-SD expansion and micro-HDMI for video-out. Notably lacking, however, is RIM’s once-vaunted physical keyboard. The prototype is a touch-only device. In fact, there isn’t a single button on the front of the device.

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The Blackberry 10 developer environment is based something called the BlackBerry 10 Native SDK with Cascades. It allows developers to create native mobile apps in C/C++ or the Qt Modeling Language (QML), and supports HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS development with the BlackBerry 10 WebWorks SDK. In this way, it’s at least passingly similar to Windows 8 development, where Microsoft supports both native programming languages and web-based development.

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Will it be enough to reverse RIM’s slide? It’s too early to tell, of course, but after years of missteps, the Blackberry 10 reveal seemed to go well enough and RIM has certainly lined up some interesting developer support. My opinion about RIM remains unchanged—I think they’re doomed regardless of what they do at this point—but I give them credit for trying.