The TV widgets, or is it Widget TV? I like Widget TV, after all, we've got Google TV and Apple TV so why not Widget TV. Plus, it's just fun to say widget. Widgety widgety widgety whack! Alright, let's get to it.
Opera, openly embraced the Widget race (as in race of apps) ages ago. Well, 2008 anyway when they released their Widget SDK. The software company, based on Norway and makers of the fine Opera browser which bears the same name, announced today that they are rededicating themselves to the survival of the Widgets (no it's not really the Marvel Comics Widget, pictured).
What they're doing is helping you get into the Widget world without a Widgety device. Now you can do all your coding in the language you know and the Widgets will understand. Plus, the kit also supports W3C, HbbTV (Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV), OIPF, and CEA-2014 specifications.
What's that mean? It means that the Widgets can migrate from their home domain to a wide range of appliances. It's like an immigration program for Widgets! How very Widgetarian!
HbbTV, for one, is supported by a Consortium (not an evil kind) and major members include: ANT Software Limited, EBU (European Broadcasting Union), France Televisions, Institut für Rundfunktechnik GmbH, OpenTV Inc, Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V Inc., Samsung, SES ASTRA S.A, Sony Corporation, Television Francaise 1 – TF1.
OIPF (Open IPTV Forum) has members that include the BBC, Cisco, D-Link, Dolby, dts, LG, Philips, Opera. Motorola, Toshiba, and a load of others who want to provide an IPTV solution enabling a "plug and play" experience for the end-users and filling a industry gap making it independent from the technology behind it.
It sounds to me like they're aiming at Google TV and leveling a bow shot challenge to them. OIPF has been around since 2007, Opera has been pushing Widgets since 2008 and now Google rolls in and steps on a bunch of toes with Google TV (which sort of does similar things that the Widgets do). Apple TV is also encroaching on the Widgets' Domain with its newest iteration and the fact that Apps will be making their way into the mix.
The Opera Devices CDK can be installed on any standard Linux PC and will empower OEMs, content developers, content service providers and Opera partners to create and debug portals, applications, widgets and webpages for TVs and other Opera-powered devices. OEMs and operators can also use the Opera Devices CDK as a "reference platform", so, once they develop for one device, they can ensure it works on any device that runs Opera's widely-used browsers.
It sure sounds like a three-way war is brewing for your web and TV attention spans… Oh wait, someone told me that a combined web and TV thing would never work… I guess the Widgets are doomed to die, another race made extinct by the mega-corporations. Or is it? Perhaps the Widgets will be held on high as the champions of the truly open source IPTV movement and make their ways into every gateway and connected-TV as guardians of open source and open standards.
Either way, competition is good, usually. Let's just hope the squabbling doesn't result in loss of Widget life,
Viva Le Widgets! (pumps fist into air)