Some Top Widgets For Your Consideration...

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Lots of little tiny programs are ready to invade your S60 handset. The widgets are coming! The widgets are coming! Ewan takes a look at some of those he finds most useful. Rafe explains some of the technical details.


S60 Widgets, small applications and utilities that look and behave like standard S60 application are starting to become available for download. Nokia's new widget library is a good place to start downloading the widgets (, as is their Mosh service ( We take a look at some of the current offerings below, but first I'll get Rafe to explain a few important technical points...

Is my phone compatible?

S60 Widgets require the host phone to support the S60 Web Runtime (WRT). S60 Widgets are programmed using web technologies (HTML, CSS, and Javascript) and use the S60 web kit based browser as a runtime (i.e. widgets are effectively application running in the browser). WRT became a standard part of S60 with the release of S60 3rd Edition FP2 which means all FP2 phones (e.g. Nokia N78, N96, 6210, 6220, 6650, 5320) support WRT. WRT has also been back ported to FP1 and ships on the most recent FP1 phones (e.g. E66 and E71). It has also been made available, via firmware updates, for a number of older phones including the E90, N95, N95 8GB and N82. The Samsung S60 iSeries phones and the LG KT610 also all have support for WRT.

S60 Widgets versus Widsets

Don't confuse S60 Widgets with Widset Widgets (usually shortened to Widsets); they are something slightly different. Widsets is Nokia's 'other' widget platform. It runs across a broader range of devices, but has less integration with the S60 platform. Both WRT and Widsets are platforms which run 'widgets' but they have different ways of doing it.

WRT is as an invisible layer on your S60 device (like Java) and consequently S60 Widgets run as stand alone applications with their own icon in the application launcher and look and feel like any other S60 application. By contrast Widsets is a Java application which you install on to your phone and Widsets Widgets run within the this Widsets application. This means you have to access Widset Widgets by first opening the Widset application from where you see a dashboard containing your Widset Widgets.

The overall consequence of this is that S60 Widgets are easier to access and quicker to start up; you can also run multiple S60 Widgets at the same time and they will all appear as separate applications.

Installing the S60 Widgets is easy. They are packaged as a single file (.wgz ending) and they work like Symbian Install Files (.sis) or Java files (.jar). This means you can download and install directly via the web browser or download them to you PC and install from there.

As we mentioned above Nokia recently made available a mobile site, the Widget Library where you can download S60 Widgets (you can also download the Widsets application). Just to makes things even more confusing most of the S60 Widgets on this site have been automatically converted from Widset Widgets (after all they both use web technologies for widget development). This does not make any difference in their use, but does mean that the quality tends to vary a great deal.


Ewan's S60 Widget Picks

(Via Nokia's Widget Library)

The ever present numbers game seems to be one of those apps (along with a decent stopwatch) that appears in every collection/platform, and the same goes for Widgets. With a very brown tinged palette giving the feel of an old Austin Maxi from the 70's this is as basic a version of Sudoku as you can get. No hints are available, no little clues can be marked by you in the squares, this is very much a stripped down, raw version of sudoku.

As you recall, the aim is to place the numbers 1-9 in a grid so no number is repeated horizontally or vertically or in any of the 3x3 squares marked out on the grid. There are 400 puzzles to work through - all seem to be held online so you do need to be in signal coverage when you start playing, and the widget keeps track of your progress through the 100 levels at each of the four skill levels. A nice lightweight (in size terms) distraction.


(Via Nokia's Widget Library)

Altogether now, awww... it's a little tamagotchi style virtual pet. With eight activities to do on/to your pet (including tickle, put to sleep, feed and take to the toilet) you'll be keeping an eye on this little critter and helping him (it looks like a him). As he grows up, and you tend to him, your score builds up until it's time to bury him. [Sob. Ed]

However, this isn't a long term app that sits in the background with a chirp every twenty minutes or so, it's more like a game of reaction, and clicking the icons as fast as they are lit up for attention. One that might keep children amused on car journeys in the holidays, but in 2008 I expect a little bit more intelligence from my AI Pets to make it a challenge.

Brian Brian Brian

Dilbert Daily Strip, WOM World, Nokia Conversations - the Site RSS Reader Widgets
(Via Nokia's Widget Library)

Given that widgets can do anything a web browser can do, one of the more popular uses of widgets is to create a site viewer - driven by RSS, these individual applications will show the contents of a single RSS feed, first just the headline and then a click through to the full article. This is certainly one for fans of the individual sites, I really can't see downloading and browsing news sites via a dedicated widget catching on.

Brian Brian Brian

I've picked three here, but there are a lot more in Nokia's widget library. Naturally, the Nokia-driven WOM World and Nokia Conversations sites are in the mix, and I'm pretty sure that people reading this article will be interested in those. The writings of Scott Adams in the Dilbert Blog (disappointingly not the daily cartoon strip) are insightful and thoughtful, and to be honest given the choice of Adams words or Adams pictures, I think I'd choose the words.

Scotland on Video
(Via Nokia's Widget Library)

At first glance, another RSS site reading widget, but this one specifically carries video reports to go along with the text. While internet video has taken off on the desktop, getting video onto the mythical fourth screen is proving to be a little bit harder - partly down to bandwidth, but also down to simple search and discovery problems. This widget gets over that with a mix of both topical news and Tourist attractions around the best wee country in the world (and I'll hear no argument from you, Albania, okay?).

Brian Brian Brian

Yoda Quotes
(Via Nokia Mosh)

"Powerful you have become, the dark side I sense in you."

Brian Brian

I have to say, this is such a simple idea, but I can't help calling it up to see what quote from the Frank Oz-powered puppet will come up next. The functionality is limited - you see a quote, you press a button, you get another quote, press the button, get another one. And so on. So simple, but a delight at the same time.

(Via Nokia Mosh)

Another staple of gaming to sit alongside Sudoku is the familiar sight of Minesweeper. Called Mines here, the graphics are the expected grey playing field, and the d-pad and button control the square to uncover. Flagging up a mine is a quick hit on the right soft key.

Brian Brian Brian

Mines is a nice distraction, but I was looking for more - specifically a much larger playing area. The version here only has five mines on a 9x9 grid (should I be suspicious that it's the same size as the Sudoku grid?), which can be cleared relatively quickly. If the grid size was increased, and the minefield became chock full of death, I'd be a very happy bomb disposal man.

(Via MuZeeker Website)

Short of having a great big splash graphic that says "Don't Panic", MuZeeker is the closest you'll get to the Hitch-Hikers Guide To Music. A search engine for music, which presents its information in a collapsed tree of information to be expanded out and then passed links to find out more, typically via Wikipedia and YouTube.

Brian Brian Brian

This is a pub quiz winner in my opinion, but it's also great as a way to find music videos on YouTube - although the search terms can bring up some comedy gold, such as a troop of Rolf Harris impersonators doing an aria of ‘Two Little Boys,' resplendent in their cork hats. Definitely an application I could spend a long time simply browsing through and reading in my spare moments.

Dice Roller
(Via Nokia Mosh)

You can't get much more simple than this - how many six sided dice to roll? Roll them, and get a result. Now this isn't here to show of technical prowess (because if it did there would be an animated dice rolling, you could change the number of sides, have auto-rolling by shaking the N95 and activating the tilt sensors...) but to show that widgets don't need to be big and complicated to be useful. For the RPG'er in me this is actually a good little tool to have on the phone - yes it could look nicer, but it does the job. So that's "d6+3" on satisfaction.

Brian Brian

Currency Exchange Rate
(Via Nokia Mosh)

And then there's the insanely practical for a few moments every month. Currency Exchange Rate hits the same useful tool level as Dice Roller, but it does have some graphical flair - rather than a list of available currencies, you choose your country via an onscreen map.

Brian Brian

At which point the flair fails, and you get a massive list - ah well, it still calls up the numbers you need in real time by going online - if only it would let me put in how much currency I want to change and save me the mental gymnastics.

-- Ewan Spence, July 2008

Apologies for not providing direct links to the S60 Widgets in the Widget Library - there are no individual links for each Widget. The site is AJAX powered and appears to run from a single page.

Let us know in the comment thread if you've found any S60 Widgets you find particularly useful.