Along with 3D, you couldn't move for TVs featuring Yahoo Widgets at CES 2009 in Las Vegas this year. But what do they do?
Along with 3D, you couldn't move for TVs using Yahoo Widgets at CES this year. As much as the lack of originality grinds our gears, we can't help but like the idea of pretty on-screen information.
Yahoo Widgets hit the big time a few years ago. Originally it was an application known as Konfabulator, which ran on Mac OS X, and made use of its graphics acceleration capabilities. A Windows version eventually appeared and in 2005 the company was sold to Yahoo, which made the whole lot free to download.
You could argue that the usefulness of Yahoo Widgets is relatively limited for TVs. After all, who wants a massive cartoon sun obscuring the latest episode of 24? Well, that's true in some cases, but the widgets are more likely to be useful in conjunction with news TV, or to see what's happening in the real world while your other half watches miserable Northerners sloping around some desolate cobbled street.
Samsung seems to think it's all worthwhile though, and has bounded on to the widgets bandwagon. Most of its new high-end TVs will feature the ability to access the mini applications, including the new LED backlit range and the new ultra-thin plasmas.
We were very impressed by how slick everything looked. And Samsung offers a wireless dongle with its TVs — as an optional extra — so you can even access these tools without the hassle of wiring your TV into your network.
We can only hope there's a Twitter widget on the way: after all, being away from the micro-blogging site causes us pretty severe pain these days.
To keep track of your widgets, Samsung includes a pretty little widget bar. This all looks really slick, and makes us think that this sort of thing has a real future. Who knows, perhaps it will one day be as well-loved as Ceefax.