Hands-on with BlackBerry 10 keyboard and homescreen (video)

We had a chance to sit down today with Gary Klassen of RIM — he’s the guy who invented BBM, by the way — to take a look at the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha device. This is not the final product, and RIM was very careful not to show off anything you haven’t already seen before, either at BlackBerry World or at another BlackBerry 10 Jam Session, but we were excited nonetheless.

First, the Dev Alpha device really does look every bit a shrunken down PlayBook in person. The screen is sharp — really, really sharp — with great colour saturation and viewing angles. Sure, this doesn’t mean anything from a real-world perspective as the device will never come to market in its current form, but it was exciting to see nonetheless.

And BlackBerry 10 was just as smooth as we’d seen on video. We had a chance to play with the keyboard and it’s a great concept, swiping up to complete the next predicted word. At this point there is no functioning autocorrect system or anything resembling a cut-copy-paste system, but we’re not worried; RIM brought that functionality wonderfully to PlayBook OS 2.0 and they’ll do the same for BlackBerry 10 devices.

We also saw the transitions between apps, notifications and the home screen, and it proved in person to be as dramatically intuitive as we saw on May 1st. That’s not to say we don’t have any lingering questions — we have tons — but we’re impressed with what we saw.

Check after the break for a demo of the Dev Alpha device running an early build of BlackBerry 10.