Canada's Research in Motion (RIM), seeking to take a bite out of rival Apple, opened an online store on Wednesday offering applications for its popular BlackBerry smartphones.
BlackBerry App World will offer a variety of free and for-purchase programs ranging from games to music to news to weather to maps to social networking.
Free applications available for download at blackberry.com/appworld on Wednesday included instant messaging from AOL, Microsoft and Yahoo!, music from Pandora and Slacker Radio and programs for accessing Facebook and MySpace.
RIM said it expects 1,000 applications to be available this week and invited outside software developers to write programs for the Blackberry and submit them for approval.
BlackBerry App World is currently only available to BlackBerry users in the United States, Britain and Canada.
The store is RIM's answer to Apple's App Store, which offers a wide variety of applications for the iPhone and has proven wildly popular among users.
Apple reported in January that downloads of iPhone and iPod Touch applications from the App Store had passed the half-billion mark.
Software giant Microsoft and Finnish handset maker Nokia have announced plans to open similar stores and Internet giant Google has been encouraging development of applications based on Android open-source software.
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