09:07 AM

RIM Launches BlackBerry App World

Its over-the-air store for BlackBerry applications puts Research In Motion on par with Apple's App Store and Google's Android Market.

BlackBerry users now have an app store of their own, as Research In Motion has launched its BlackBerry App World for discovering and buying new mobile programs.

App World offers an over-the-air way for BlackBerry users to find, download, purchase, and install applications. RIM said it has lined up thousands of developers to contribute content, and has organized the store by categories that include entertainment, news, music and video, and travel. App World launched with programs from the likes of The New York Times, Facebook, MySpace, Bloomberg, Major League Baseball, and more.

Developers get to keep 80% of the revenue from any app sold, which is 10% more than they get from Apple's App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Content creators have to pay $200 a year to put up to 10 apps in the virtual store, which is a bit more than developers pay to enter Apple's store or Microsoft's upcoming app store.

While there are multiple free apps in the store, users can purchase apps using a PayPal account. By clicking on the "purchase" button, a secure login page for PayPal pops up to complete the transaction. Unlike the iPhone, where 99 cents is a popular price point, the minimum price for App World apps is $2.99. It's unclear how this higher price point will affect adoption, or if the use of PayPal will be a hindrance.

Organizations that have deployed BlackBerry Enterprise Server or BlackBerry Professional Software will retain control of which applications can be downloaded to BlackBerry smartphones within their corporate deployments.

The move shows the growing importance of apps for smartphones; soon every major platform will have a way for users to download apps over the air to their handsets.

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