Life on BlackBerry's App World

The rumors were true: RIM released BlackBerry's brand-new App World on Wednesday at CTIA 2009.

A few featured applications take up the lion's share of the screen. You'll be able to see an image and ratings at a glance, and can scroll left and right to view more spotlighted apps. The navigation buttons below let you browse for apps by categories, scroll through popular titles, search by name, and manage downloads and reviews.

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Top downloads

If you want what everyone else is having, scrolling through the Top Downloads page is a good way to discover popular games, social networking tools, and utilities in the BlackBerry App World. One of the app's best features? Not having to worry about compatibility with an operating system--the App World only offers applications compatible with your phone model. That said, you do need to be sporting a version 4.2 BlackBerry or higher to download the app.

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Apps by category

One way to discover new applications in the BlackBerry App World is to browse by categories. In this prerelease image, the number of apps per category aren't noted, though the full release of the App World will show the number of apps per topic in parentheses.

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Download details

By selecting an application title, you'll get a close-up of the ratings, reviews, screenshots (when available), and description. This is where you can begin downloading or buying the app, and also one place you can rate it.

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Buying apps with PayPal

RIM, BlackBerry's maker, has partnered with PayPal rather than with the carrier to handle payment for premium applications. The downside is that it tethers you to opening a PayPal account if you don't already have one; extra steps that will be unwelcome by some. The silver lining is being able to view PayPal details directly from the Blackberry App World.

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Buy now

Before you commit your cash in exchange for the application at hand, the BlackBerry App World confirms your purchase and gives you one more chance to change your mind. iPhone's App Store has no such confirmation page, which no doubt facilitates those extra impulse buys on 99-cent "bargain" apps.

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Manage in My World

Head over to the My World screen in BlackBerry's App World to uninstall and reinstall applications, and to rate and review an app. Press the BlackBerry Menu key (not pictured) to see the list of options.

In addition, if you replace your BlackBerry with a newer model, logging into My World with your PayPal account can install both free and purchased applications to the new phone. The backup feature is essential for a user base that frequently upgrades phone models; it also reinforces PayPal's importance in BlackBerry's new downloading experience.

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Write a review

The least pretty screen, the Add a Review option in My World, is what gets your opinion off the BlackBerry and into the minds of other buyers.

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