updated 11:05 am EDT, Wed April 1, 2009
BlackBerry App World debut
Research in Motion (RIM) has used the opening of the CTIA conference to launch the BlackBerry App World, accessible via BlackBerry handsets. Users in the US, UK and Canada must have the v4.2 operating system loaded, but can then download free and paid apps made for their specific BlackBerry model, via Wi-Fi or cellular connections.
The store already offers instant messaging clients for AIM, Windows Live, Yahoo and ICQ, apps for the social networking sites Facebook and MySpace, and business-oriented titles including Bloomberg, the HRS Hotel Organizer and Salesforce CRM Mobile, among others. Access to entertainment and news providers such as Shazam, Viigo, Slacker Radio and ClearChannel's iheartradio is also ensured by dedicated apps.
The App World uses a front-page carousel to showcase featured apps, and should change weekly to help users discover the range of titles available. A Top Downloads section sorts apps by the number of downloads, while 13 Categories and a Search feature let users find apps by purpose or name. A Reviews section gives people the opportunity to praise or criticize via star ratings, and is supplemented by the Recommend feature, which forwards apps to fellow BlackBerry users via e-mail, PIN, SMS or BlackBerry Messenger.
All downloaded software is stored in a My World folder, used to keep track of titles and permit quick updates or removals as well as transfers to new phones.