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BlackBerry World storefront goes live hours before much-anticipated BB10 event

Hours before Research In Motion (RIM) throws the spotlight on its new BlackBerry 10 platform, the company’s revamped BlackBerry World storefront has gone live, with new content such as TV shows, movies and music selling alongside the existing line-up of apps and games.

A quick look through its offerings reveals, hardly surprisingly, that pricing is comparable with similar services such as Google Play and Apple’s iTunes store.

The video download and rental options will initially be available to users in the US, UK and Canada, RIM said in a statement released earlier in the week. The company failed to say when the service will be rolled out to other regions.

Meanwhile, the music section is launching in 18 countries: the US, Canada, the UK, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, Australia, India, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore.

The Canadian mobile maker is promising video content from “all major studios”, adding that “most” movies will hit the store the same day as they come out on DVD, with TV shows arriving the day after broadcast.

“RIM is committed to working with content providers to bring the best, most up-to-date content to our customers with BlackBerry 10, and to make it easy for them to get what they want,” said Frank Boulben, RIM’s chief marketing officer.

The grand unveiling of the long-awaited BB10 mobile operating system, together with two new handsets, takes place today in New York at 10am ET, with other special events planned for cities around the world.

It’s been a diabolical few years for RIM, with today’s launch its best and probably final opportunity to reinvent itself. If it turns up with something exciting and can persuade enough consumers – and businesses – to give it another try, it has a fighting chance of getting its beleaguered business back on track and reestablishing itself as a serious player in the smartphone market. OK, Thorsten, show us what you’ve got….