Feeds

Nokia admits killing off Widsets

It was the Finns, behind the Ovi, with the candlestick

The essential guide to IT transformation

The first effective platform for mobile widgets, Widsets, was killed by Nokia back in April - but no one noticed as the company successfully obfuscated the murder behind Ovi.

Nokia's all-encompassing brand Ovi has swallowed up several services including Download! and MOSH, but unlike the other services Widsets was a platform on which widgets could be developed and deployed - among the first, and certainly the most influential, of such platforms, having been launched in October 2006.

Nokia is still saying that Widsets has "evolved into Ovi", or that the service has been "moved into" the Ovi store, which is true for many services, but not for Widsets. When we tried to get absolute confirmation of Widset's demise out of Nokia we were first told that the platform was alive and well, under the Ovi brand. When we pointed out this didn't appear to be the case, we were told that more technical people would get back to us, then that they were all busy celebrating mid-summer, then that they were on holiday, and finally that Widsets as a platform is dead - something that even Wikipedia hasn't yet noticed.

Widset developers are, of course, welcome to create new apps and sell them through Ovi - they could even create widgets for Symbian's Web Runtime - but code developed to the Widsets specification now has nowhere to run.

Widsets wasn't a great widget platform, but it was a pretty good one, and the first to properly demonstrate what widgets could do on a mobile phone. Users could add and remove widgets dynamically, using their mobile handset or a desktop client that mirrored the mobile experience including personal account details - though not terribly well.

By hosting widgets in a Java client Widsets was supported on any Java-enabled handset, and came pre-loaded on some Nokia ones, but the use of Java also made it epically slow to launch on most platforms.

Once it had loaded one could scroll around its extended-desktop interface and view one's widgets, some of which would still be updating as developers used the platform to try out new ideas and see what was possible. Widget versions of Minesweeper probably didn't do the concept justice, but a widget version of Dilbert was welcomed and the platform was alive with widgets for the weather, sports scores and suchlike, all developed in "WidSets Scripting Language" - a proprietary language which exposed much of Java's functionality to the widget developer.

However, Java is out of favour these days; everyone wants to use AJAX for their widget development. So the latest Nokia S60 handsets support Web Runtime for widgets and Widsets became a distraction for developers, and Nokia, so had to be killed off. But to disappear without a trace, deleted from history and destined to be described as a forerunner to an online store with which it has nothing in common is an ignominious end for a platform that showed how widgets could make the mobile internet better, even if it never managed to achieve that itself. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Déjà vu: Virgin Media jacks up broadband prices
Screw copper phone lines, we're UNIQUE, bleats telco
NBN Co claims 96 mbps download speeds for FTTN trial
Umina trial also delivers 30 mbps uploads, but exact rig used not revealed
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
EE: STILL Blighty's best mobe network, says 'Frappucino' Moore
Fresh round of network stats fisticuffs possibly on the cards here
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
EE network whacked by 'PDP authentication failure' blunder
Carrier is 'aware' of cockup, working on a fix NOW
ROAD TRIP! An FCC road trip – Leahy demands net neutrality debate across US
You crashed watchdog's site, now time to crash its ears
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?