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Research in Motion (RIM) has been floundering in recent months due to a lack of truly modern mobile phones in its BlackBerry range.

However, an alpha build of a brand new model has been explored by TechRadar, revealing plenty of information about RIM`s as yet unannounced flagship handset.

Unsurprisingly the new phone runs the BB10 OS (operating system) which is derived from the QNX platform which is already available on the BlackBerry Playbook. However, a lot more is now known about this model thanks to the hands-on time that has been spent with it.

From the outside it could be easy to mistake the new handset for a miniaturised Playbook; it features the same premium finish and slim, well built chassis as its larger tablet cousin.

The handsets, which have been officially distributed to developers by RIM, could well get something of an overhaul in the chassis department before they are shipped out to consumers, which is something that a spokesperson for the company confirmed.

In terms of display you get a 4.2 inch screen with a native resolution of 1280×768, which observers will note is higher than the pixel count found onboard rivals like the iPhone 4S and even newer models like the HTC One X.

Resolution is not the be all and end all of the mobile market, but it is increasingly being used by manufacturers to mark out their products as part of the next generation, outdoing the previous 800×480 standard which is still used by mid range models and the entire Windows Phone family.

RIM said that it was definitely going to be sticking with this display size and working with this resolution as the starting point for the new BB10 smartphone. However, the rest of the hardware components packed into this development handset are apparently less representative of the finished product.

The BB10 smartphone will follow in the footsteps of current BlackBerry models by packing in NFC (near field communication) capabilities, along with LTE networking in regions where such services are available.

It is worth noting that NFC and any kind of networking other than Wi-Fi have been left off the list of capabilities for the current Playbook tablet range, but RIM is reportedly putting such an updated model through its paces at the FCC in the US, suggesting that an eventual launch is likely.

The real struggle for RIM will be to convince consumers that it is worth choosing its next BlackBerry handset instead of an iPhone or a high end Android equivalent.

Things look promising so far, since the BB10 software has strong foundations in QNX, which is renowned for its multitasking and user friendliness. Meanwhile things like the Webkit browser which run on the alpha edition of the phone examined this month suggest that there will be a lot to like about this mobile when it is launched. It just needs to stand out amongst the many other phones on the market.