Money Matters - Simplified

BlackBerry gets App Store

Las Vegas, April 1: Research in Motion Ltd.(NASDAQ: RIMM) unveiled its BlackBerry App World on Wednesday, finally looking to stroke the rampantly expanding market for mobile programs.

The smartphone leader seems to have woken up to the fact that mobile programs offer a wide ground for expansion, and other players are already reaping huge benefits from it. The BlackBerry still holds a strong share in the market but it has definitely lost some of it to Apple's iPhone and Google's G1 phone, both of which feature an application marketplace.

Rim can probably hit back at its competitors with its latest move into the App World store.

The App World will let the users purchase and download applications to their supported RIM BlackBerry devices. They may be free or come with a price tag of $2.99 and up. 30 percent of the applications were offered free at launch.

If successful in this endeavor to please its customers, the company could open the door to a new revenue stream.

Currently, the store is only available in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada, but RIM will provide the service in other countries soon.

The App World’s front page features a carousel like design of the applications, which will vary by the week. Also, it features a list of the most popular applications.

Reviews and recommendations can be posted on the site, which is also equipped with a keyword searching facilities. Opinions can be sent via email, PIN, SMS message or BlackBerry Messenger.

RIM said it expects about 1,000 applications to be posted on BlackBerry App World within a week. It is looking for applications from various partners including CC Media Holdings Inc.'s (CCMO) Clear Channel, Gameloft SA (GFT.FR), Viacom Inc.'s (VIAB) MTV Networks, the New York Times Co. (NYT) and Salesforce.com Inc. (CRM).

Besides the business programs, social networking like MySpace and Facebook and instant messaging programs will also be offered.

"The BlackBerry platform provides a truly unparalleled mobile experience for millions of people and we are thrilled today to enhance that experience with a new app store that helps connect consumers with developers and carriers,” said RIM president and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis.

“BlackBerry App World aggregates a wide variety of personal and business apps in a way that makes it very easy for consumers to discover and download the apps that suit them while preserving the appropriate IT architecture and controls required by our enterprise customers."

Users will need to have a PayPal account to buy the paid applications. Meanwhile, RIM is working with carriers to try and make the payments possible with the users’ monthly bill.