RIM touts new features, markets for BlackBerry App World

Research In Motion announced its BlackBerry App World virtual storefront will add a series of new features and launch in 10 new international markets before the end of the month. According to RIM, BlackBerry App World will soon roll out in Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Ireland, Austria, Luxemburg, Portugal, the Netherlands and Belgium, with accompanying support for languages including French, Italian, Spanish and German. Developers may submit localized applications for all of the new regions--in addition, programmers may now begin to incorporate new features into their apps, including placing hyperlinks on their websites that open their BlackBerry App World product page when launched from the BlackBerry browser. RIM also said it will introduce new BlackBerry App World product categories to make it easier for consumers to find the applications they want.

In a recent interview with Bloomberg, RIM vice president of global alliances Jeff McDowell reported the number of applications available via BlackBerry App World has doubled to 2,000 since the storefront opened in April. According to McDowell, the handset maker is "very happy" with the number of applications now available, adding that the variety of music, video and games downloads is sufficient to rival Apple's App Store, which boasts more than 50,000 iPhone and iPod touch apps. "I don't think it matters whether it's 40,000 or 2,000--you've still got a broad range of choice," he said. Needham analyst Charlie Wolf disagrees with McDowell's assessment, telling Electronista that BlackBerry App World's limited catalog is a drawback that "hasn't caught up" to actual phone sales. Needham expects that to change once the gap in software selection becomes more evident.

For more on the BlackBerry App World expansion:
- read this Electronista article

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