RIM will launch its App store in March 2009 in a bid to close the gap between itself, Apple and Google, both of whom have already released their online application marketplaces.
RIM's BlackBerry Application Storefront and Application Center will hopefully accelerate the democratisation of what is arguably the most popular business smartphone platform on the market.
Blackberry Developers will be able to keep 80p out of every Pound of revenue brought in, better (but not by much) than Apple's current 70:30 scenario and they would be able to use Paypal, the electronic payment outfit owned by Ebay.
Application developers have been invited to submit their applications and content to start populating the storefront as from December 2008.
RIM president and co-chief executive Mike Lazaridis said that: “The introduction of more consumer-friendly features in BlackBerry smartphones has clearly helped generate a groundswell of interest with new developers that has already resulted in the introduction of thousands of consumer and lifestyle oriented applications for BlackBerry smartphones.
“The new BlackBerry application storefront and BlackBerry application centers will further support the growing BlackBerry ecosystem and help bridge consumers with developers and carriers as more and more innovative and interesting applications arrive.”
Networks will be able to select which application downloads they do not want through the Blackberry Application center - although this could be a tricky one if they want to exterminate any competition in the egg. Skype, Any tethering application or Last.fm for example.
Interestingly, organisations that have deployed BlackBerry Enterprise Server or BlackBerry Professional Software will retain control of what applications can be downloaded to BlackBerry smartphones within their corporate deployments, which will certainly improve security and ease the sysadmins' tasks.
There's no Kill switch apparently, although one can expect RIM to unveil it at a later stage.