Nokia admits killing off Widsets
It was the Finns, behind the Ovi, with the candlestick
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. ®
And so Nokia
kills yet another feature. What's new here? oh yeah, the 'newer' functions cost money now, like Maps. useful one year, dead the next.
Widset not = Ovi Store
Was hoping that the Ovi Store app would be the result of the Widset evolution, as promised.
Widsets being a simple Java app, would mean Ovi Store would have a nice Java app on all S60 (and probably S40) phones.
But instead we get a (native?) Ovi Store app that only works on WRT phones (3.whatever Feature Pack this and that, etc. i.e. *not* my phone which is 3.0, and of course you can't upgrade OS versions with Nokia. Generally). Widsets, as reported just disappears.
Or if Ovi Store is Widsets evolved and still a Java app, then why doesn't it work on all S60/S40 ?
Ovi Store on my N80 instead is an experience of going to the poor web page and struggling with the very slow browser scrolling of the earlier 3.x S60 phones.
Not that it matters when the apps in the store are so poor (and not to mention more expensive in some cases than you can get them direct from the original developer).
Nokia screwed up with Ovi
Simply because they outsourced even their own know-how to external companies. When Google and Microsoft have their own development and research in house in Nokia the "next pillar for revenues " - the Internet services rely on contracts with external service providers, bought be the incompetent business PM's. Let us see how long it would take to the top to realize this simple fact.
No I do not use Nokia maps - it is grappy compared to Google maps and Google latitude is for free.
No I do not use Nokia Sync via Ovi.com simply because it does not work - I tried it at least 5 times - it did not even send me sms with the settings as promised ... I set up Google Sync and my contacts for 3 minutes - I found all the simple instructions on google help sites ( for Ovi store I had to search and a lot .. ) and it just simply worked ... some 3 months ago ...
I really hope some big boss in Nokia will read this ... WAKE UP. Fire them all. If Google makes better Symbian apps with some 10 times lesser resources than your Cheap Indian Developers + 10 times the amount of business decision makers doing nothing FIRE THEM ALL
I meant the lazy business decision makers not the working Indians !!!