Research in Motion has unveiled details of its new online application store for BlackBerry smart phones — and it will be pricier than Apple's.

BlackBerry App World is expected to launch later this month in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K., allowing customers to choose and download games, social networking and personal productivity applications, and other software for a variety of BlackBerry models.

RIM, based in Waterloo, Ont., launched a website for the store this week, inviting customers to register and developers to submit their applications.

Apple's similar iTunes app store has been embraced by iPhone users, who have made more than 500 million downloads.

Jeff McDowell, RIM's vice-president of Global Alliances, said he thinks an "app" store for the BlackBerry will boost interest in the device.

"It's a check mark that consumers want to know," he told the Canadian Press this week. "It will absolutely drive greater adoption of BlackBerry."

Like the iTunes app store, BlackBerry App World will make some applications available for free, but the rest will range in price from $3.69 to $12.25, according to the site's FAQs.

ITunes charges 99 cents for many of its paid iPhone apps, although it has others in the range that RIM plans to charge.

Payments on Blackberry App World will be administered via PayPal, the online payments system owned by online auction house eBay Inc., rather than directly by credit card.

RIM first announced in October that it will be launching the store.

At the time, it said it is working with PayPal on a system that would allow customers to make their purchases right on the BlackBerry. It also said the company would take a 20 per cent commission, allowing developers to keep 80 per cent of revenues. Apple allows developers to keep 70 per cent.

Microsoft is also preparing to launch its own app store for mobile devices, Windows Marketplace for Mobile. The store is scheduled to open this fall when the company launches its new Windows 6.5 operating system for mobile phones.

With files from the Canadian Press