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GLOBAL – It’s fair to say that in 2008 widgets were more of a hardcore curiosity for users of top-end devices than the mainstream staple of smartphone living. However, 2009 is almost certainly destined to become the year of the widget, popularizing these bite-size Internet-linked applications with the advent of Nokia touchscreen devices tailored towards widget-centric home screens. In fact, the year of the widget is already gaining serious momentum with the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, and when the Nokia N97 launches it’s certain to cement these web-connected mini apps as an indispensable new breed of tool tailored to extracting dynamic Internet information on the move.

Click through to find out which widgets are leading the charge on the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic.

Nokia is dedicating a considerable chunk of real estate on its new touch-enabled home screens to widgets, punctuating its belief in the significance of these simple and often single-purpose pipsqueak portals to the web. Plus, the advent of all-you-can-eat fixed price data packages from network operators means many of us are now less concerned about soaking up serious slabs of online content behind the scenes as we go about our lives.

Sure, widgets work fine on many of Nokia’s existing devices, but the point is that they’re not brought front and centre, and made a focal set of tools that are easily manageable and customizable. As I say the N97 will imprint widgets on the main stage, but the 5800 XpressMusic is the first to pave the way. Here are just a few of new downloadable Nokia 5800 widgets that have sparked attention recently, as first featured on theS60blog.

AccuWeather Widget – Ultra slick weather forecast widget for folk living in the US (pictured)

Reuters News Widget – Smart and customizable news widget with photos and breaking stories

FoneFood Widget – Location based widget for finding where to eat and even make reservations

Do you currently use widgets on your phone? Do you think touchscreen devices such as the Nokia 5800 and upcoming Nokia N97 will truly popularize widgets and help establish them as smartphone staples in the future? Scribble your thoughts in the comments section below.