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RIM, LG, Sharp & Samsung Join JIL for Global Widget Platform

Handset makers Research in Motion (RIM), LG Electronics, Sharp and Samsung Electronics have joined the Joint Innovation Lab (JIL) and will support JIL widget specification in future mobile handsets from Q1 2010.

The decision of LG, RIM, Samsung and Sharp to incorporate the JIL widget specifications in their future product roadmap is proof of the tremendous potential that JIL offers both to developers and customers, said Peters Suh, JIL CEO. All four companies are innovation leaders and this is another strong affirmation of both JIL strategy and its robust technical specifications. (Verizon Wireless)

Other members of the JIL include Verizon Wireless, Vodafone, China Mobile and Softbank (Japan) who are claiming to be able to reach a combined user base of more than 1 billion around the world (North America, Europe, Asia and Africa).

The Joint Innovation Lab (JIL) is mostly focused on creating a standardized global platform for developers to encourage the creation of a wide range of mobile widgets. The Platform is supposed to enable developers to access handset and network functionalities such as the address book, camera, location information and billing in a secure environment. JIL widgets will run on a variety of smartphones as well as mid- and low-cost handsets across several operating systems and are distributed through JIL operators’ applications stores. It also appears that a unified application store will come, but this could also be a move by JIL towards providing a brandable app store platform for participating members.

For us as developers and promoters of mobile widgets this is good news for several reasons: fragmentation will be less of an issue (it will still be a major concern), we have the outlook for a global billing and distribution system and what’s not mentioned above but still important: JIL widgets are based in large parts on the W3C and BONDI specs.

An interesting fact is that companies such as Samsung now have to dip their toes in several different widget waters, their own widget platform called TouchWiz, are bringing out Android handsets and produce the H1 and M1 for Vodafone 360 (which represents their JIL engangement), not to mention their Windows Mobile devices. Well, Samsung is a hardware manufacturer and they have to support all these different platforms I guess.

Hopefully the goals of JIL will be implemented as announced and we can start distributing JIL widget-based applications globally soon.