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BlackBerry App World Tops 2,000 Programs

Research In Motion's virtual application store still only has less than 5% as many as Apple's App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Research In Motion's over-the-air application store may not get as much attention as Apple's App Store, but the App World has quietly reached more than 2,000 programs.

The application store is mainly aimed at non-enterprise users, and it gives multiple BlackBerry owners a way to browse, buy, download, and install programs over the air. Launched in March, RIM said App World will soon be available in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Brazil, and India.

RIM's store is still dwarfed by the App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch, which has over 50,000 applications and one billion downloads. RIM has not released download figures for its app store, but the company said it is happy with how many customers have downloaded programs. Additionally, RIM is going after a premium audience, and the minimum price for paid applications is $2.99, compared with 99 cents for Apple's store.

It will be increasingly tough for RIM or any other rival to fully displace Apple's dominance in the application market because it has so much momentum. Along with the press attention it gets, developers for Apple's platform have the potential to reach up to 40 million users if one includes iPod Touch users. Additionally, the company continues to release new handsets that are popular with consumers, as the iPhone 3GS recently sold over a million units in its launch weekend.

Nokia's Ovi Store could match and exceed that audience, but it is just beginning to get rolling. The Android Market could eventually have a wider audience as well, as the Google-backed operating system is gaining traction with handset makers.

Mobile applications can boost a workforce's productivity, but can bring up multiple questions about security. InformationWeek analyzed how to get a handle on locking down data when it's on the move, and the report can be downloaded here (registration required).

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