Having recently purchased a Sony Dash which I still need to take out of the box, I am obviously intrigued by the idea of devices which allow widgets to run on them. Apparently Alcatel-Lucent too is enamored with the concept of widgets and mobile apps as the company just picked up OpenPlug, a company focused on cross-platform application development solutions. This purchase follows on the acquisition of ProgrammableWeb a major resource to the development community involved in mashups and web-based APIs.
What does this tell you? That Alcatel-Lucent understands the future of the carrier business in-part will revolve around cross-platform device development and merging the closed ecosystems of carriers with a suite of rich tools and services currently made available from companies like Google via their maps API and others.
In the past, the telecom industry hoped IMS would provide walled gardens allowing carriers to control and profit from these closed ecosystems. Something interesting happened on the way to this vision as Apple iTunes and the App Store became the walled garden leaving carriers scrambling as they look for ways to compete.
If Google's Android is an example of the new carrier model it is worth noting it involves cross-platform, cross-device deployment of rich applications which rely on a suite of mashed up services. Obviously from these acquisitions, Alcatel-Lucent seems to agree and is positioning itself nicely to supply the next-generation of communications solutions to carriers and developers worldwide.
Disclosure: Alcatel-Lucent has been the sponsor of a community titled Next-Generation Communications living on TMCnet for many years. Oh, and I am the CEO of TMC the company behind TMCnet if you aren't aware.
Disclosure #2: I really hope I get some time to open the Dash up today and take it for a spin.
Update a few hours later: Just took it out for a spin and it was a snap to set up and display photos on. So far it is not slick like an Apple device - the power adapter alone is as thick as 4 iPhone 4s but it seems like a very useful gadget with lots of widget options like news, weather and more.