Software developers will be able to start charging for applications downloads to Palm Inc's high-profile Pre smartphone with the company's launch of an e-commerce beta program set to start in mid-September.

Developers will still have the choice of giving apps away for free, but Palm said on Tuesday that software providers who want to charge for Pre apps will get 70 percent of revenue from the sale. The remaining 30 percent would go to Palm in an arrangement that mirrors Apple Inc's app store.

Palm shares were up 3.9 percent at $13.74 in morning trading.

Consumers will be able to easily pay for their purchases using Visa Inc and MasterCard credit cards, according to Palm.

The company is betting on its brand new webOS operating system and App Catalog first used in Pre, to win back market share lost to rivals such as Apple's iPhone and Research In Motion's BlackBerry. Palm has said that Pre is the first of a whole line of phones to be based on webOS.

Palm said it aimed to launch a full developer program for the App Catalog in the United States this fall. Apple started a phone vendor craze for app stores after its software store, launched last year, helped boost iPhone sales.

Sprint Nextel Corp is currently the exclusive U.S. provider for Pre, but Verizon Wireless, a venture of Verizon Communications Inc and Vodafone Group Plc, says it will start selling the phone early next year.

(Reporting by Sinead Carew; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)