Feeds

Life's a BONDI beach for widgets

Or it will be very soon... honestly

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

MWC Every year, widgets almost happen on mobile phones, and this year widget fans can show handsets and a route to market... nearly.

Operator body the OMTP has announced winners of its JavaScript-based widget competition, and is joyously explaining that there are now handsets that support its BONDI standard. There is a development platform too, though neither is really as complete as it first appears.

The competition winners include the usual location-based stuff: a widget to tell you which shared bicycle is nearest (they're all in Rome, which is fair enough given the location of the developer). There's also a widget for measuring lap times while jogging and one that tells you where the nearest surfing beach is.

The point of all this is to show that widgets don't have to be limited to web-based stuff, but thanks to BONDI's extensions to JavaScript, a widget can interact with phone functions too.

Widgets - mobile applications created in the language formally known as JavaScript - now have three standards to which they can conform to extend JavaScript's limited functionality: there's BONDI from the OMTP (Open Mobile Terminal Platform), web standards coming out of the W3C, and the Vodafone/China Mobile backed JIL (Joint Innovation Labs) standard.

Yesterday's announcement that operators are to create the WAC (Wholesale Applications Community) should reduce that, though we don't have much in the way of details yet. But the WAC is vital to BONDI, and widgets in general, as it presents a way for widget developers to make some money selling their creations. Or at least it should... probably, we'll have to get more details first.

Not that the market is awash with handsets supporting any of the widget standards: the OMTP has a reference implementation on Windows Mobile, and Tieto has created one for Android which is available for licence. The LiMo platform officially supports BONDI, though only a subset of the API is available. That's on the emulator, though it's considered good enough for the OMTP to call it a "BONDI development platform". Samsung's Wave handset does support BONDI, or parts of it: the only demonstrable widget uses the BONDI calendar API to show a clock, with a spot showing the next scheduled appointment.

That should improve once there are fewer standards, but consolidation is hampered by the need to work out who is allowed to authorise widgets, and how they go about doing it. One wouldn't want every JavaScript app to have access to the phone's functions, so questions about who permits what need to be resolved. It took Java Micro Edition (J2ME) more than a decade to address the same problem, and even now the solution isn't perfect.

Meanwhile, there is the equally important question of what will power Microsoft's Tile-based interface. The Tiles used in Windows Phone 7 Series look suspiciously like widgets, and all indications are that they'll be W3C compliant.

If Windows Phone 7 Series does prove popular, then the future could be bright for mobile widgets. With Microsoft's backing there should be a route to market too, assuming that anyone actually wants automatically-updating widgets on their mobile telephone. ®

Business security measures using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
Apple Watch will CONQUER smartwatch world – analysts
After Applelocalypse, other wristputers will get stuck in
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.