RIM opens online application store for BlackBerry users

Set to take on Apple's App Store and upcoming Microsoft Mobile Marketplace

LAS VEGAS -- Research In Motion Ltd. today is set to launch the BlackBerry App World online store, which will initially offer some 1,000 free and paid applications to users of the mobile device.

RIM said the store application can now be downloaded to a BlackBerry smartphone.

The company in February had announced plans to launch an application store, following in the footsteps of rivals Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. Apple offers applications for its iPhone devices through its Apple App Store, and Microsoft plans to offer applications through its upcoming Windows Mobile Marketplace, expected to open later this year.

The formal launch of the App World online store will be part of a keynote by RIM President and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis at the International CTIA Wireless conference here later today.

In a statement issued this morning, RIM said users will be able to conduct keyword searches through the new BlackBerry App World store. Reviews of applications from other users will be provided as well. App World is available for devices with a trackball or touch screen running BlackBerry device software Version 4.2 of higher.

Bloomberg, The New York Times, Hotel Reservation Service and MTV Networks are among the RIM partners expected to contribute 1,000 applications to the store this week.

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