Best Widget Devices of 2006

So I always forget the devices that are coming out that use widgets. I recently saw some threads on the new Sideshow remote and figured that this was an omen – I must post them all. There are only three that I know of, so it was pretty easy. 🙂

All of these devices are pretty neat. The only one I have tried was Chumby at WidgetsLive. I sure wish I could get a Chumby. It is cool as hell. I tried to get one of the promotional ones on their website for developer tests. Unfortunately, I failed. Sadness. If anyone knows how I can get a Chumby, or any of these bad boys for that matter, to play let me know!

These devices signal the beginning of something we have all been waiting for – affordable web service powered appliances. I look forward to seeing how this area matures. Enjoy!

Sideshow Remote

Vista Remote

While SideShow, that snazzy forthcoming feature that lets you fire up slideshows, widgets, and other random goodies with actually booting up, has been garnering a good bit of attention lately, it’s not much good without a equally flashy remote to control the action from afar. While there’s been several devices parading around as Vista MCE remotes, CEPro is now reporting that Interlink Electronics — the folks who sued Nintendo for jacking their motion-sensing technology and implanting it in the Wiimote — is the “first company to officially announce a SideShow remote control.” The firm asserts that the SlideLink will let customers “select songs, schedule recordings, navigate video clips and photographs, display TV program guides, and even browse recorded TV shows” right from the worn down cushion of your sofa. Still, we’re not yet sure if this thing will utilize RF, Bluetooth, or some other short-range wireless format, and since this doesn’t seem to be the company’s “first priority” (see lawsuit mentioned above), who knows when we’ll see this thing in the flesh. (more…)


The device, in prototype, is small, designed for the “kids,” and sports a Wi-Fi adapter, an AC power plug, a small, color touchscreen, and an open architecture. The company wants people to hack the software, hardware, and even the device’s case with their own modifications. It’s not precisely open source, but it’s all open. They hope the device will ship in the second quarter of 2007 for about $150. They also expect that it could be licensed or replicated in many forms—they have released or shortly will release the parts list and schematics among other parameters—and they’re curious what results. (more…)


Korea’s emTrace looks to be branching out from its smartphone-centered niche, jumping on the widget bandwagon with its beefed-up alarm clock, the WidgetStation. Packing dual LCD screens (one color, one monochrome), the device will give you at-a-glance access to all the usual information that can be widgetized, including stocks, weather, and RSS feeds, as well as integration with a desktop PIM and the ability to browse photos (but apparently not videos) stored on a desktop PC. Interestingly, while the device will let you listen to Internet radio stations, there’s no mention of support for plain old AM or FM radio — one step forward, two steps back we suppose. From the looks of it, you’ll also have to plan on stringing some ethernet cable if you’re thinking of using the WidgetStation very far from your router, with the device sporting an RJ-45 port but no built-in WiFi — something others don’t seem to have had any trouble doing. Still no word on price, though emTrace should be announcing that at CES if the product is launching in early 2007 as planned. (more…)

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