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BlackBerry Gets SlingPlayer, E-Book Reader

The growing number of multimedia apps should boost the appeal of the upcoming BlackBerry App World.
BlackBerry smartphones are well-known for the ability to push corporate e-mail, but the latest product line is receiving a big multimedia boost with a SlingPlayer and electronic book reader application.

Sling Media's SlingPlayer Mobile for BlackBerry is officially out of beta form and is available for download now. The software enables users to watch video content from their home television provider on their BlackBerry handset over Wi-Fi. The software works with handsets like the BlackBerry Bold, Curve, and Flip, and it's priced at $29.99.

Sling Media's app comes as there are growing reports that Research In Motion will launch a full-length television subscription service. According to the blog NewTeeVee, the service would offer Wi-Fi-enabled BlackBerry handsets to download an unlimited amount of TV shows for a monthly fee. RIM has not responded for comment when reached by the press, but the service is rumored to be announced at next week's CTIA Wireless trade show.

For the BlackBerry user who prefers the written word, Barnes & Noble launched an e-book reader for the smartphone. The app lets users access more than 60,000 titles from or Barnes & Noble's catalog of e-books. The e-reader can be downloaded from Fictionwise's Web site, and it supports handsets like the Storm, Bold, and Curve.

BlackBerry devices are increasingly becoming mainstream, with more than 40% of the company's subscriber base in the noncorporate market. In order to capitalize on this growth, RIM is launching an over-the-air store for downloading, buying, and installing applications. This store, called the BlackBerry App World, is hoping to mirror the success Apple had with its App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

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).