The Joint Innovation Lab established by China Mobile, Softbank and Vodafone to help accelerate the uptake of innovative mobile technologies on a mass-market scale has a new member: Verizon Wireless.
The addition of Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone, would mean that the JIL now has a combined customer reach of approximately one billion consumers. The JIL will initially focus on creating a single global platform for developers to encourage the creation of a wide range of innovative and useful mobile widgets. These mobile widgets will be capable of enhancing the mobile Internet experience on a variety of smartphones as well as mid- and low-cost handsets on multiple operating systems.
As part of this initiative, the JIL plans to launch later this year a range of tools to encourage innovation among global mobile developers. The tools include: a common mobile widgets specification; easy-to-use developer kits; and an online repository, distribution and payment mechanism to ensure developers can roll out their products to customers in more than 70 countries across North America, Asia, Europe and Africa.
Mobile widgets are capable of boosting handset functionality as well as transforming the look and feel of a device to give customers quick and easy access to valued content. They are personalized, always-accessible mini applications that sit on a handset to retrieve relevant information from the Web such as weather reports, sports updates and travel timetables.
The JIL mobile widgets specification is set to enrich these services further by enabling developers to access both handset and network functionality such as the address book, camera, location information and billing in a secure environment.