Verizon joins cellco giants to boost common mobile widget platform

The development of mobile widgets has taken a giant step forward following the announcement that Verizon Wireless has joined the Joint Innovation Lab (JIL)--recently formed by China Mobile, Softbank and Vodafone--to focus on a single global platform for mobile widgets.

While the JIL has a broader remit than widget development, the group has decided to focus on this particular technology to encourage the expansion of new and innovative services. If successful, this move to a common platform should enable widgets and applications to run on different handsets and OSs across numerous mobile operators, while safeguarding customer security, data privacy and billing systems.

While this action will be seen as an attempt by four of the world's largest operators to put themselves in the driving seat in terms of mobile web apps, it will bring them into competition with the likes of Qualcomm, which is already pushing forward with its own widget application platform.

However, the JIL has stated that leter this year it plans to launch a range of tools including a common mobile widgets specification, developer kits, an online repository, and distribution and payment mechanisms to ensure developers can roll out their products to customers in more than 70 countries across North America, Asia, Europe and Africa.

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