Orange Group has made its ‘Open Source Mobile Widget Platform’ available to the mobile industry, which it says “enables web-based mobile apps to be developed for all mobile devices, ranging from the lowest to the highest form factors.” The company has been using the technology in its own devices since 2009, partnering with widget provider Netvibes earlier in 2010 in order to increase the range of content available to customers. By making it available free of charge, Orange says that it “intends to shake-up the market, creating additional opportunities for developers and content publishers.”
The technology will be available to “all telephone manufacturers, integrators, developers and operators” via the GitHub code repository “in the coming weeks.” The solution includes a ‘widget reader,’ which has already been integrated into “millions of Orange mobiles throughout the world”; server technology, which enables the management of a catalogue of widgets; and tools for creating widgets, documentation and examples of code. In a statement, Patrice Slupowski, VP of Digital Innovation and Communities for the company, said that “we believe open source publishing is for us the best way to guarantee the relevance, openness and long term survival of the platform.”
While Orange is opting to offer its own widget technology open-source, its widget platform is not the only game in town: the China Mobile, SoftBank Mobile, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone Group-backed Joint Innovation Lab is also active in this field, and its activities are set to be folded in to the widely-supported Wholesale Applications Community (WAC) in the near future. Another mobile widget platform, OMTP’s BONDI, is also being aligned with WAC, in a move intended to reduce fragmentation within this space. It is not clear why Orange, as a founding WAC member, has decided to take its own widget technology open-source, rather than folding it in with that of its counterparts.