Orange launches new widget experience and expands multi-platform Application Shop

Orange has announced new and easy ways for customers to get more from their mobile, widening access to mobile content via simple widget services and exciting multimedia applications.

Orange is launching a new range of mobile widgets, giving customers instant access to useful information via their Orange Homescreens. It is bringing a selection of simple, connected mobile widgets, such as weather updates and news alerts to its entire Signature customer base, as part of Orange’s new mobile multimedia strategy to help customers do more with their phone.

Yves Maitre, SVP devices at Orange, commented: “Orange wants all of its customers to benefit from access to compelling content, not just the current few with sophisticated and multi-functional phones. With our new ‘out of the box’ widget experience, customers can simply turn on their phone and choose from a great selection of services via their Homescreen. By simplifying and widening access to these services, we are driving usage by helping more customers find new and useful things to do with their mobiles.”

Orange’s widget experience will be launched in May 2009 and rolled out across all European markets. Orange will be able to offer its customers a widget experience across 80% of its Signature phone range by the end of 2009. In the future, Orange will open the widget catalogue to select third party developers and publishers to give customers even more choice.

For those that want to browse, choose and personalise their mobile content, the Orange Application Shop (available through Orange Downloads and Orange World) is being extended to support more operating systems throughout 2009, breaking down barriers to create the world’s first truly cross–platform experience.

In addition to Signature services like Orange TV and Liveradio, the Orange Application Shop will focus on offering fun applications like astrology tools (horoscopes), magic tricks, puzzles and quizzes as well as practical tools such as language dictionaries, currency converters and business services from third party providers.

The Orange Application Shop first launched on the mobile in November 2008 in the UK and France, and is being rolled out across Orange’s footprint in 2009. In the UK alone, sales of applications via Orange Downloads in the UK went up by 277% within the first four weeks, proving its popularity and ease of use.

Yves concluded: “We’re putting our customers firmly in the driving seat, whether they just talk and text, browse and email or download and share. With the new widget experience and expanding Orange Application Shop, any customer can find content and services personally relevant to them, for the phone they have.”

Today’s announcement is the first step in Orange’s ambition to make mobile multimedia available for everyone. Orange’s five year heritage within the developer community with Orange Partner Programme, and its open approach to multimedia development, will help to achieve that goal.