New version of BlackBerry App World available to all

RIM makes it easier for customers to buy apps and lets developers sell apps for cheaper

BlackBerry users may find it easier to buy applications now that App World 2.0 is broadly available.

Until Thursday, App World 2.0 was available to users on an invite-only basis starting in late July.

The second version of BlackBerry's application store adds some features that could attract more users and developers to the platform.

End users can now buy applications using major credit cards and may be able to add purchases on their mobile bill, depending on the carrier. Previously, users paid with PayPal.

In addition, App World 2.0 lets developers sell applications for US$0.99 and US$1.99. Previously, developers could offer their apps for free or for more expensive prices. But the lower prices are common on other platforms like the iPhone and they could attract more buyers and developers.

BlackBerry also now enables QR barcode scanning, so users can scan a QR code using the phone's camera and the related application will automatically launch.

The new store also aims to make it easier for users to browse apps. Users can view the top 25 free applications, top 25 paid applications, top 25 themes, news apps and recently added apps.

Existing App World users should get an upgrade notification about the new version, Research In Motion said. Users of devices with BlackBerry Device Software v4.2 or higher who aren't already using App World should also be able to download it from RIM's website.

Even though RIM continues to sell more phones than Apple, it has far fewer apps in its store. App World, which launched early last year, has more than 9,500 apps. In June, Apple said there were 225,000 apps available to iPhone users in the App Store. Apple's store has been open since July 2008.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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Nancy Gohring

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