Research in Motion Ltd. has officially launched the BlackBerry App World, which like the App Store for the iPhone, is meant to bring third-party developer offerings to the table for users in a centralized way.
RIM said it expects 1,000 free and paid applications to initially be available in App World, which is compatible with BlackBerrys with a trackball or touchscreen, running Version 4.2 or higher. First application partners include Bloomberg, The New York Times, Hotel Reservation Service and MTV Networks, plus a range of music applications and social networking options.
The storefront was unveiled at CTIA during a keynote by Mike Lazaridis, co-CEO of RIM, who characterized the strategy as opening up “an exciting new sales channel.”
RIM has always had third-party offerings available, but the App World will centralize them in one place. Users download widgets over the air, use keyword searches to find what they’re looking for and pay where necessary using PayPal.
In a move that dovetails with BlackBerry’s ongoing quest to break out of the enterprise realm and attract consumers, Lazaridis highlighted RIM’s partnership with U2, with a video featuring Bono talking about helping users discover new sides to the BlackBerry.