Hands-on video and pics of BlackBerry App World

BlackBerry's long-awaited response to Apple and Android's app store finally threw open its doors today. Video at bottom of post...Just like Apple's Ap

Just like Apple's App Store, users will be able to browse, purchase and download apps directly to their phone vis BlackBerry App World.

To kick off, just visit mobile.blackberry.com or blackberry.com/appworld from your BlackBerry browser, follow the instructions and a brand-new App World icon will appear on your homescreen.

You are then presented with a scrollthough coverflow-style home menu of BlackBerry's featured apps, plus a series of icons along the bottom for Categories, Top Downloads, Search and My World.

The categories, as you'd expect, are pretty plentiful – with Navigation, Games, Entertainment and News all represented. Unsurprisingly, the category with the biggest number of apps is Business, with a whopping 90 apps.

The whole interface is much more simple than we would have expected, with simple scrolling and one-click downloads. You will need a PayPal account if you want to add paid-for apps, and then it's just a case of inputting your PayPal password and choosing download.

Scroll through to MyWorld and you can manage your apps – including changing their location (so that they can appear on your homescreen for example), uninstall, etc

One minor gripe is that, because the paid-for apps are being converted from US PayPal prices, it means that UK prices are a little higher than the App store – starting at £2.59 and rising to a frankly massive £15 for the FlipSide MP3 player.

Games are of your standard golf-and-blackjack variety – RIM would benefit from jumping into bed with a major developer for an exclusive deal. That said, you can get Guitar Hero and Doom, which is nice.

Some might say it's an overdue addition to BlackBerry's suite of tools, but that said, it's a welcome addition, works as simply and beautifully as it should, and ensures that BlackBerry will be able to hold its head up high in the smartphone market, and not just as a business tool.