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Microsoft looks set to integrate widgets into a future update for its Windows 10 operating system. According to a reliable leakster, the Redmond-based firm will include a column of interactive widgets that can be accessed at any time with a swipe from the left-hand side of the screen.
If that sounds familiar, you probably used the predecessor to Windows 10 – dubbed Windows 8 (yes, the numbering is confusing, Microsoft decided to completely bypass the number nine). Windows 8 included a so-called Charm Bar, which didn’t offer access to widgets, but included shortcuts to the Start Menu, Settings, Devices, the universal Search, and Share.
Microsoft announce the Windows 10 update in 2020
Widgets are having a real moment right now. With the launch of iOS 14, Apple refreshed the homescreen of iPhone with three sizes of widgets – for its own apps and third-party developers. Google, which revealed a first-look at Android 12 during its developer conference in mid-May, is also placing an emphasis on newly-redesigned widgets.
With Microsoft now looking to bring these small, glanceable apps to its desktop operating system, widgets look set to become ubiquitous regardless of what operating system you use.
News of Microsoft’s plan to make widgets a more integral part of the desktop operating system comes courtesy of Twitter user WalkingCat, who tweets under the handle @_h0x0d_ and has an almost infallible record when it comes to forecasting the latest developments from Microsoft. Tweeting about the planned addition, WalkingCat posted: “‘Windows Widgets’, is something slides out from the left side of screen with a swipe gesture.”
Unfortunately, that’s the only information we have at the moment. Presumably, Microsoft will introduce a way to activate this new widget carousel without using the touchscreen. While the vast majority of Windows 10 laptops now ship with a touchscreen display, those who have their own desktop PC build at home might not be able to use these gestures as easily.
It’s also possible that widgets are only going to be accessible when using the operating system in tablet mode. Microsoft hasn’t spent a lot of time focusing on the tablet experience until now, so it would be an interesting move.
WalkingCat hasn’t revealed when to expect these improvements. However, Microsoft plans to make some seismic changes to its operating system, which is now used by more than one billion people worldwide, later this year. Codenamed Sun Valley within the company, the next major upgrade to Windows 10 will bring an all-new visual design – the first since the operating system was introduced more than half a decade ago, and all-new features. Perhaps, the introduction of widgets can be added to that list?
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