CES 2009: Yahoo TV Widgets

We cover in our sister publication, PictureThat, the accelerating convergence in  functionality and features between still cameras and video camcorders. Still cameras are borrowing much wider zooms, low lux performance, and image stabilization from video cameras while providing HD video recording capabilities with interchangeable lessons in cameras like the Nikon D90 or Canon Mark 2D and the new Kodak Easyshare Z980. Well the same type of convergence is starting to accelerate between TVs, NetBooks, and desktop computers. But this time the glue or integrating agent is smarter computer controllers plus Internet connections on TV. And the major provider is not Google nor Microsoft, but Yahoo.

Thus TV may yet win sway over the PC  as household information appliance of choice. And of course, one enabler is Microsoft’s slothful Windows XP and Vista OS. Instead of being able to rely on its Media PC to keep all this corralled and under control, Vista and its ilk  impose  huge boot-up lags, cumbersome security”features”, and lavishly expensive runtime requirements.  This leaves  opportunities for TV vendors to  interface to the Web quickly and cheaply; hence creating opportunities for Yahoo TV Widgets:
The basic idea is to be able to bring TV broadcast interaction with Internet connections by means of synchronized TV with Yahoo made Web widgets. The Yahoo Widget API is produced in a collaboration between Yahoo! and Intel. The Widget Channel API provides access to popular Internet technologies such as Konfabulator (JAVASCRIPT® and XML), and HTML. The Yahoo! Widget Engine and Widget Channel frameworks implement different levels of functionality from the Widget Channel API.

This is the same Widget API being adopted by TV makers Samsung and Sony. So some major TV unit players are already on board. And clearly Yahoo is promoting this opportunity to developers. If it is primarily JavaScript, HTML, and Konfabulator technology as promised, then it should be highly approachable by developers already doing lots of Web 2.0 stuff with a great set of tools JavaScrpit tools and frameworks already available. In any case the software technology appears to be about as difficult as Flex/Flash development.

Right now the feel good story at CES 2009 appears to be  Palm. This is the tale of how Palm, long a valiant pioneer in mobile + PDA, battling against the Mobile Software Monsters   has quite possibly rescued its Brand of Technology excellence with the well designed Pre mobile phone offering.  Let me suggest in the subtext, Yahoo may have done the same for its somewhat faltering Web presence.

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