BlackBerry Flashes Dollar Signs for Developers with App World

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The iPhone pulls apps directly from Apple’s App Store, the T-Mobile G1 uses Google’s Android Market, and soon, your BlackBerry will download right from BlackBerry App World. Research in Motion lifted the veil on its hotly anticipated new software market on Wednesday.

The company hasn’t released full details of how the software will work, but so far it has promised all the typical smartphone accoutrements, including games, social networks, and personal productivity applications. The biggest news, though, springs from the proposed pricing structure. Unlike the Apple’s App Store, which has spun out a huge array of apps priced at 99 cents, RIM will force developers to offer paid applications starting at $2.99. “Free” will also be an option, as well as other prices all the way up to $9.99.

The higher price floor may be an attempt to lure developers over to the new platform with the promise of greater profits. Besides a higher selling price, software programmers will also benefit from an 80 percent cut of application profits – compared to the 70 percent they receive through Google and Apple.

Unlike both alternatives, RIM will also use PayPal to process the microtransactions racked up by users at the store, rather than handling cash itself. Some outlets speculate that the company’s handling fees may also help explain the $2.99 price limit.

RIM opened up App World to developers, but the company hasn’t yet revealed when it will be ready for consumers to start filling their virtual baskets. Rumors indicate it will happen by the end of March, but in the mean time, BlackBerry users can register to receive an alert when the doors swing open.