Widgetbox launches portable widget directory for iPhone users

Widgetbox encourages development for iPhone widgets with its new directory.

One of Apple's biggest blunders in creating its own directory of iPhone Web apps was to make the site suited for desktop users instead of people on the portable handset.

While the company has since made it easy for people to bookmark Web apps onto their home screens by adding a quick link from inside of Safari Mobile, the "official" directory of Web apps continues to be unapproachable for iPhone users unless they're on a speedy Wi-Fi connection. Widget directory Widgetbox has come up with its own solution and launched a directory of iPhone-friendly widgets that can be installed on the home screen as mini widgetized Web apps.

The directory interface is completely iPhone-friendly, and to go alongside it there's a simple how-to guide to turning bits of Web content into widgets that can be added to the directory just by tagging your work with "iPhone." Users without any sort of Web development experience will be able to make their own iPhone widget apps using Widgetbox's widget-building wizard, which I'm assuming will get iPhone-centric size presets.

The one thing I found underwhelming with most of the example iPhone widgets is that they look just like they do in the directory instead of taking up the entire screen. They also come with Widgetbox branding and links back to the directory--two things which are bound to take crucial seconds to load while on an EDGE connection. However, it's still a lot better than having to load the entire Web page, which in the case of BART's QuickPlanner tool (which serves up travel times for local Bay Area trains) means a nearly three-fold load time decrease from loading BART's home page.

You can navigate to iPhone.Widgetbox.com on your iPhone or iPod Touch to go to the directory. You can also check out the developer specs to make iPhone/iPod touch-friendly Widgetbox widgets here.

The new iPhone widgets directory (left) gives you a listing of tiny Web apps to run on your iPhone. When it comes time to 'install' them, you simply add them as a bookmark on your iPhone's home screen. CNET Networks
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