It's official: BlackBerry has launched their own app platform for smartphones, App World. At the website you can download the system for free. There are a host of free apps to get started with, while paid apps start at $2.99, payable through PayPal. To access App World through your BlackBerry, point your mobile browser to mobile.blackberry.com. Your device must have BlackBerry device software version 4.2 or higher, a trackball or touch screen and is only available in the US, Canada and UK.
It will be interesting to see how App World competes with the iPhone and G1 offerings. As BlackBerry traditionally has focused on the business users, it would seem logical that apps would offer ways to conduct business through the devices. A quick look at the featured apps reveals AOL instant messenger, Bloomberg, Facebook, iheartradio, MySpace, ICQ (another IM client), a couple games, a couple more IMs and more radio. There's also WorldMate live - a "personal travel assistant" - HRS Hotel Organizer, and Salesforce.
App World means a new outlet for developers, too. RIM will accept any applications that can be packaged as a .cod file using the
BlackBerry Java Development Environment, BlackBerry JDE Plug-in for Eclipse and
BlackBerry JDE component pack. Applications for inclusion can be submitted through the website.