Sony Bravia owners in Japan will now be able to play multiplayer online games and check the weekend weather along with any other App that they can fit onto an SDK (Software Development Kit) from the company. This could stimulate this sector of the industry much as the iPhone has done for Apps in mobile phones.

With widgets limited to 1.3MB size will be an issue but validating your Apps will at least be mercifully brief. Sony's graphical user interface, the XMB (Cross Media Bar) emulator, is included so developers can test their widgets easily. At present the feature applies only to the following models: the KDL-46F1/40F1/32F1/ 52V1/ 46V1/ 40V1/ 32J1/26J1/20J1/20M1/16M. It's expected to appear in all new Bravia TVs.

Fortune favours the Bravias

The SDK only works with Windows XP/Vista and includes the App emulator, App development guide, AppliCast java script API specification, AppliCast layout XML specification and some widget samples. Thus far, available widgets include RSS feeds and a Yahoo-friendly range of features covering Auctions, Topics, and Image search.

To give developers a little encouragement to put their thinking caps on, Sony is running a competition in which the best new Apps will be rewarded. First prize is a Bravia KDL-40F1LCD TV, the second receives a VAIO VGN-CS60B, third earns a BDZ-T55Blu-ray player, fourth a CyberShot DSC-T77 while six runner-ups will gain themselves a NW-S736F Walkman. But don't panic, you have till January 2009 to get your entries in.