Life's a BONDI beach for widgets
Or it will be very soon... honestly
MWC Every year, widgets almost happen on mobile phones, and this year widget fans can show handsets and a route to market... nearly.
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.
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.
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. ®