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RIM's Web-Based Storefront Goes Live

Research In Motion on Friday made the Internet-based version of BlackBerry App World available to all desktop users.
The desktop browser-ready version of BlackBerry App World is just the latest step taken by RIM to make it easier -- for both BlackBerry users and developers -- to discover and download applications. RIM has been making adjustments to App World all year in hopes of driving more developer enthusiasm for its platform.

With the new desktop tool, users will be able to: purchase apps directly from the website; edit My World accounts to sync app downloads directly to the BlackBerry smartphone; read and write reviews and recommend items to peers; and access purchased or downloaded apps from a computer via the My World page in the BlackBerry App World storefront.

RIM launched version 2.0 of BlackBerry App World earlier this year. The new version of the Web store -- which was pushed out to all end users over a month ago -- brings a number of welcome changes, such as carrier billing, better searching, and better management tools for end users.

Developers can now more easily charge U.S. users for their applications in BlackBerry App World 2.0. RIM is moving forward with paid apps in the U.S. Developers can sell apps for either $0.99 or $1.99. Developers will be able to charge more for apps at a later date.

At launch, App World only supported PayPal as a payment mechanism. Now, users can purchase applications through their credit card (Visa and MasterCard) or wireless network operator (if supported).

RIM notes that the new version of BlackBerry App World is easier to navigate. It has added new tabs that let users more quickly jump through application lists. Users can also swipe sideways across the screen to look through "Top 25" lists of apps.

App World 2.0 also includes the BlackBerry ID function. BlackBerry ID sets a user-specific identification for App World purchases. This is necessary for credit card payments, but also allows users to move applications (both free and paid) from one BlackBerry to another. The desktop version of BlackBerry App World makes use of this ID function for more seamless syncing between a user's account and devices.

The addition of carrier billing and credit card support alone should provide some enticement to BlackBerry developers, as it is now easier to earn money from their applications.