At the BlackBerry World conference in Orlando, Florida, RIM chief executive Thorsten Heins revealed the new device and showcased the BlackBerry 10 operating system, which RIM hopes will help it claw back lost ground from Apple's iOS and Google Android.
The company also issued a developer toolkit for the new BlackBerry 10 platform in beta, in the hope that third parties would create hundreds of new apps for the OS.
However, the reveal was met with disappointment among investors, sending the share price tumbling by 5.76% yesterday. The struggling company has seen its stock price drop by more than 70% over the past year.
RIM hopes that the new generation of smartphones will help it compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung, but this is widely being viewed as last chance saloon in the consumer market for the Canadian firm.
Last year, RIM was hit with an embarrassing three-day global service outage for BlackBerry users, while the PlayBook tablet has failed to ignite the interest of consumers.
RIM's prototype BlackBerry 10 device broke with tradition for the firm by not including a physical keyboard, instead featuring a full touchscreen, similar to the PlayBook.
The prototype, codenamed BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha, features a 4.2-inch touchscreen, on which users can access a virtual version of the familiar BlackBerry keyboard.
The new operating system also supports app multi-tasking and boasts a much cleaner presentation.
However, RIM stressed that the model was "just for our developers", suggesting that the final version could be very different.
Alec Saunders, the company's vice president of developer relations, told The New York Times that the reason why RIM had taken the "unprecedented" step of releasing a prototype phone early was to "create a wave of application support behind the new BlackBerrys before we bring them to market".
The BlackBerry platform has previously been viewed as low priority for developers, who instead usually favour bringing their premium new services to Apple iPhone and Android devices.
But in a statement, Saunders said that BlackBerry has 77m customers worldwide and developers getting on board with BlackBerry 10 could have a major global audience.
"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," he said.
App developers can now use the first beta of the tools to start building BlackBerry 10 apps, including support for new HTML5 technology.
RIM said that it would offer coders at least $10,000 (£6,200) for any app certified for Blackberry 10 that meets its terms and conditions.
The first BlackBerry 10 devices are expected to launch in the "latter part of 2012", meaning they could well have to contend with Apple's expected announcement of the iPhone 5.