Mippin's Buzz widgets for N97 homescreen

Published by at

Mippin has released four news 'Buzz' widgets, optimised for the Nokia N97's homescreen, each covering a different area: general news, tech, gaming and gossip. On the N97's homescreen, the widgets scroll through the latest news headlines, with the full story (in full screen mode) just a touch away. The widgets also feature an offline mode and customisable refresh time and content areas.

Mippin Buzz Widgets   Mippin Buzz Widgets   Mippin Buzz Widgets

Mippin Buzz Widgets as seen on N97 homescreen, full screen and settings view.

A significant advantage of the Mippin Buzz widgets are that they have been designed with power and network constraints in mind. By default the widgets are set to update (go online) every 30 minutes. The widgets, when they update, save the text content of news stories to local disk. This means you can browse through the latest news even if you do not have a network connection.

Each widget can be customised both in terms of refresh time (from 5 minutes to 24 hours) and content area. For example, the Tech Buzz widget lets you choose from Tech News, Mobile News, Gadgets, Gaming, Tech Video and Symbian categories, allowing you to specify the type of news you would like to see.

The content is drawn from Mippin's extensive news and story database (as used on mippin.com). You'll see news from both mainstream news organisations (BBC, Guardian etc.) as well as blogs (including All About Symbian) and online media, depending on the widget and category customisation you use. The content is reformatted for display on a mobile device (no mean feat in itself) with the original story linked to at the bottom of every news item.

I've been using the News Buzz (set to UK news) and Tech Buzz (set to Symbian news) for the last week. It's great seeing breaking news stories automatically appear on the home screen of the N97. This 'living' element shows off one the greatest strengths of the N97's homscreen; its ability to provide dynamic information at a glance. Mippin have done a great job showing what can be done and, while others will follow in their footsteps, they will have a significant first mover advantage.

While the N97 does ship with a couple of similar widgets (AP News and Bloomberg), the Mippin widgets are more customisable and thus better aligned with my specific content interests. They also draw from a far wider range of content sources, which gives a more diverse feel to the news. The downside of this is that you do tend to see some stories repeated by multiple sources.

The offline support has obvious advantages if you're in an area with no network connection, but it also means that general usage is faster because there's no waiting time for a full story to load.

The widgets also work on the Nokia 5800 and 5530, albeit without the homescreen functionality.


The widgets can be downloaded, for free, from the Ovi Store (New Buzz currently, the others in the next few days), or by using the links below.

Futher reading

Mipping blog post on the Buzz Widgets