BlackBerry revs up app store

Canadian gadget shop Research In Motion (RIM) has started accepting submissions for its application store, which is due to open its doors later this month.

Jumping on an increasingly crowded bandwagon alongside Apple and Android, RIM is pitching BlackBerry App World to developers as a channel to reach over 21 million BlackBerry users worldwide.

Towards the end of the month, BlackBerry App World will launch in the US, UK and Canada, with local language versions to follow soon after. Developers can already submit their apps to the store for RIM’s consideration, although there is no word just yet on how tough the vetting process will be .

RIM has advised developers to bear a number of features in mind when writing applications for the BlackBerry platform, including ease of use, speed, user interface, and battery drain. But RIM has hinted it will also favour applications that integrate well with the BlackBerry software and hardware, by making use of available features on the device such as GPS or camera, as well as push technology, although wireless access should be used judiciously.

The storefront will allow developers to set their own prices for applications, with RIM creaming off 20 per cent of the fee. The Canadian firm is working with PayPal to establish a familiar payment system for users. Enterprises, one of the biggest BlackBerry user bases, can also use the applications centre to retain control of what can be downloaded to devices within their corporate deployments.

The vendor is also working with carriers to provide customised, on device application centres to help foster after market application downloads. This platform will expand on RIM’s existing on device distribution system for individual software applications, such as Facebook. RIM is also notable for being the only handset manufacturer/having the capabilities to routinely push out updates to its handset users, enhancing security, features and experience.

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