RIM, makers of the BlackBerry handsets, has set a date for the launch of its application store allowing BlackBerry users to benefit from a similar service to Apple iPhone owners.

Launching in March 2009, with developers able to submit their applications and content for inclusion in the storefront in December 2008, the storefront will allow developers to set their own prices for applications.

Like Apple with its App Store, RIM will take a share of the revenue, however unlike Apple, RIM has said that it will only take 20% rather than 30% in a move that is clearly hoping developers will favour the better rates.

Because RIM doesn't have a system similar to iTunes, the BlackBerry Application Center will instead use PayPal for payments.

RIM has said that 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.

RIM is also working with its carrier partners to provide carrier-customised, on-device application centres to help, says RIM "foster after-market application downloads".