Customization: Part IV – Using widgets

The cellphone industry is very dynamic, with manufacturers releasing new smartphones on a regular basis, and software developers releasing new or updated applications every day. If you “Google” for Nokia N8, no less that 22 million hits are returned. This is rather overwhelming and finding the right information efficiently, can be a daunting task! I want to share my experiences with you on how to keep informed, without too much fuss or effort.

The Nokia N8 has 3 home screens which icons can be added that represent shortcuts to your favourite applications and games. If you install other user interfaces, there are many more home screens to customize (discussed in an earlier post: “Improving the user interface: Need more than 3 home screens“). You may want to dedicate a home screen for keeping informed, for example, with the latest developments in the Symbian world. This is achieved by adding widgets to the home screen.

A widget is a small application that performs a single task. Mobile widgets are applications that can be installed on smartphones to add functionality to the device. Mobile widgets are designed to make your life easier, by providing information from the Internet. There are all sorts of different mobile widget types. There are game widgets, communication widgets, information widgets and many more. For example, widgets are designed to:

  • Receive RSS feeds or news,
  • Check and send e-mails,
  • Update local weather conditions, and
  • Display “whats showing” at the movies.

Some widgets are static, meaning they provide a snippet of information such as your battery level. However, most widgets are interactive allowing you to engage with the information they provide. Widgets can be downloaded from the OVI Store and here are a few I’ve installed:

  • GSMArena – the ultimate GSM phone resource guide is Gives excellent reviews about all current smartphones.
  • OVI News – this widget keeps you up to date with the latest official Nokia and OVI news.
  • OVI Blog – keep current with this new OVI blog application.

Widgets that you should not consider installing:

  • Symbian Guru – keep up with the latest news and reviews from “The Guru” stopped posting in July 2010 and now owns an Android smartphone.

If you want to create your own widget, visit appwizard.ovi.comOVI App Wizard lets you publish web content from RSS and Atom feeds into a mobile application for distribution to millions of consumers.

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