The widgets that grace your desktop and mobile devices are about to take a new journey. These little candylike technology helpers are coming to your television.
During the next few months, companies such as Samsung Electronics, Sony, VIZIO, and LG Electronics will begin rolling out high-definition televisions with broadband capabilities that support widgets. Widgets are mini applications that will allow TVs to connect to the Internet to enhance user experience.
At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Yahoo! and Intel, along with big-name electronics companies and Internet giants such as MySpace, debuted this budding technology that will make television a more seamless interactive device. Instead of trying to put the Internet on your TV with some clunky interface or media device, these little built-in applications pull only specific bits of information that you’re looking for, such as the weather or stocks. A business could create a widget that would bring up today’s lunch special or a coupon; the opportunities are endless. This means that another avenue for advertising and medium for businesses to reach their customers may finally be realized. And the reason widgets may be the silver bullet is because of their simple usability.
Creating your own widget is easy with Yahoo! Widgets. You can develop your own widgets with downloadable tools and use a developer forum for support. Widgets will be available for users to download free of charge, for now. But it might not always be that way, according to Patrick Berry of Yahoo!. So that’s one more incentive to start creating a must-have widget for the TV now.
If you’re still having a hard time grasping the value, some scenarios may give you an idea of how widgets might be used in the very near future. Imagine one of your customers enjoying a lazy Sunday morning channel surfing. He clicks the widget button on the remote control and up pops your widget that offers your weekend sales. You could even offer a coupon code that customers can download to their phones.
How about a hungry group of friends watching a sporting event? There is no need to pull out the phonebook or even crack the laptop because the TV widget is a button-push away, offering your Big Game Meal Deal, along with the phone number to order. How’s that for convenience?
It’s only going to be a matter of time before you vote for your favorite singer or boot your hated island squatter with the push of a button from your TV remote, or find a new revenue stream and customers.