Samsung Innovation Quest 2009

Written by on June 30, 2009 under mobile, News, Widgets

This post is for web developers and other individuals who are interested in making use of their spare time and having fun while at it. Samsung has fast made a name for itself in the mobile phone arena, and has consistently provided users with great options. One of the things that mobile phone users look forward to is the release of new widgets, which make the phone experience all the more interesting and useful.

This year, Samsung is encouraging the creation of new widgets with Innovation Quest. Also known as SIQ or Samsung IQ, the event this year is focusing largely on the GT-i8910 home screen. The competition is being co-sponsored by The Symbian Foundation.

Those who will be joining the competition are in for an exciting event for sure. More than simply being participants and coming up with something new, contestants are going to be equipped with a lot of tools and resources, which the sponsors are providing. For example, a series of technical papers on widgets for mobile purposes is to be made available.

If you are worried that you are not an expert and you merely like to dabble with software development, you should rest easy. The event is meant for the expert as well as the novice.

At the end of the competition, the SIQ winner will take home around $25,000 and the potential income from the sales of the winning widget. Register at Samsung Mobile Innovator to join now. Deadline is 14 August, so it’s not too late!

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Yahoo Going Widget Crazy

Written by on June 28, 2009 under News, Software, Widgets

Yahoo used to be THE thing when it came to the Internet. I remember more than a decade ago, when the Internet was only starting to become big, it was Yahoo that was on everyone’s lips. Today, however, Yahoo does not have that distinction anymore. The Internet, and technology in general, has evolved so rapidly and so many players are on the field now.

Yahoo is not giving up on its existence yet, though. In fact, even if it has a lot of competition, Yahoo is still a major factor to consider; and it continues to evolve and offer new things to users. One of the recent revelations on the Yahoo Blog is the fact that they are offering a host of new widgets and apps which will allow users to do a lot of things without having to leave the Inbox.

This has gotten a lot of attention and it seems to me – even if I have not personally tested all the widgets and apps – that this piece of news is being received favorably. Reuters actually featured this earlier this month. Some of the most notable widgets and apps mentioned were:

There’s a PayPal application that can integrate into a user’s Yahoo mail, as well as apps from personal finance service Mint.com and blogging tool WordPress which can be weaved into a person’s MyYahoo start page. Nearly 20 new widgets are now available for use in various Yahoo products, including a handful of apps for Internet enabled-TVs.

I am all for this, though I have one question: how is the speed of the interface?

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RSS On Your Google Desktop

Written by on June 7, 2009 under Software, Widgets

Google fan boys probably know about this by now, but for those of us who may not have heard of it yet, Google has brought out a new first party widget that can be used with the Google Desktop. The widget basically allows you to see your Google Reader feeds without having to open up your browser.

Josh Lowensohn from CNET tells us all about it:

It puts Google Reader’s source list in your sidebar where you can peruse feeds you’re subscribed to and read individual stories in a small pop-up window that slides out across your screen.
The widget works both in Google Desktop’s dock and “popped out” on its own. Between the two, I prefer it off the dock since you can see more of the feeds and stories at once without having to change the height and width of your sidebar; something that can affect the look and feel of other widgets.

The widget is not without its faults, though:

One major drawback is that it can’t yet properly display HTML-formatted feeds, meaning some of your feeds will be left unreadable with images and page formatting stripped out. However, just like in Google Reader proper, you can simply click on the headline to hop to it on its original site.
I also found performance on this widget to be a tad sluggish. It doesn’t provide the instant feedback you get in the browser. For instance, clicking on my source list of feeds and seeing them appear took about two or three seconds. The same goes for any time you drill down to see any feed’s list of stories.

Still, I have to agree with Lowensohn that despite these flaws, having a widget from which you can easily access your RSS feeds is pretty convenient. I am off to download it now myself.

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