Archive for February, 2009

Mobile widgets – more than just old content?

IDC recently published a report on mobile widgets and how they may be the future of mobile Internet services. We are doing some work in that space and as such it is great to see the growing uptake and interest in the way mobile widgets may be able to help create a common platform for certain types of mobile applications.

At the moment and without the availability of a way for widgets to access things like device or network APIs, the functionality they can provide is still limited. Therefore, many people see mobile widgets as just being a way of displaying “old” Web content (or formats such as RSS) in a form factor that makes it appealing on mobile. This will change over time as more functionality becomes available.

The growing standardization on the mobile widget front (W3C and BONDI for example) should help put mobile widgets onto a wide range and variety of handsets. Add to this the fact that mobile operators are pushing widget runtimes down to handsets as they come into the market and you end up with what may be an interesting eco-system for a new breed of mobile developers.

Those people interested in building mobile widgets should for example take a look at what Vodafone are doing on their Betavine site where you can find a tutorial on building your first mobile widget. They are also holding a mobile widget competition where you can win a first prize of 20.000 GBP. Good luck!

The business of Open Source on OSS Watch

I’ve been doing some consulting work for OSS Watch recently and they also asked me if I would be interested in writing a short article on Open Source from a perspective of how business can be generated around it. The article has just been published.

Mobile technologies to watch

Gartner have recently published a press release, outlining the eight mobile technologies to watch in 2009 and 2010. This is from a report available at a cost from the Gartner website.

Reading the list makes me want to start an my own research business, as the topics they list are – to quote Simon Judge – pretty arbitrary. They seem to list most of the mobile buzz words currently circulating and nothing in the list is surprising. I would agree with Simon that there are a few other topics they could have listed – but would be inclined to extend “Open Operating Systems” from his list to “Open Source on both mobile client and server”.

Mobile will be one of the main areas where we will see disruption through Open Source in the coming months – and that won’t just be limited to the mobile device itself, as I’m sure Fabrizio would agree. In fact he would probably tell you that you should have started “watching” that particular trend some time ago.

Ready, Widget, Go!

During the past eight months or so, we’ve been doing various bits and pieces within the mobile space. We’ve been doing both consulting work for providers and consumers of mobile services as well as developing a few mobile clients of our own.

Amongst other things, we’ve been developing a mobile widget for our Nyooze based site – Citywatchr.com – due to launch in a few weeks. The mobile widget will allow people using a widget enabled mobile to follow news from their favorite cities on their mobile.

So, today I was interested to see Vodafone launch the Betavine Widget Competition 2009 with a first prize of 20.000 GBP. That should get people developing and increase the buzz around mobile widgets in the upcoming months. Maybe we should submit the Citywatchr widget…



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