Microsoft is expected to include widgets in a future update for its Windows 10 operating system. According to a reliable leakster, the Redmond-based company will include a column of interactive widgets that can be accessed at any time with a swipe from the left side of the screen.
If this sounds familiar, you’ve probably used the predecessor to Windows 10 – called Windows 8 (yes, the numbering is confusing, Microsoft decided to bypass the number nine entirely). Windows 8 contained a so-called Charm Bar, which did not offer access to widgets, but contained shortcuts to the start menu, settings, devices, universal search and sharing.
Widgets are having a real moment right now. With the start of iOS 14, Apple refreshed the iPhone’s home screen with three widget sizes – for its own apps and third-party developers. Google, which unveiled a first glimpse of Android 12 at its developer conference in mid-May, is also relying on redesigned widgets.
As Microsoft is now trying to bring these little, uncluttered apps to its desktop operating system, widgets are likely to become ubiquitous no matter what operating system you’re using.
The news of Microsoft’s plan to make widgets a more integral part of the desktop operating system came from Twitter user WalkingCat, who tweets under the handle @ _h0x0d_ and has an almost infallible record of predicting the latest developments from Microsoft. WalkingCat tweeted about the planned addition, writing, “‘Windows Widgets’ is something that swipes out from the left side of the screen with a swipe.”
Unfortunately, that’s the only information we have at the moment. Presumably, Microsoft will introduce a way to enable this new widget carousel without using the touchscreen. While the vast majority of Windows 10 laptops now come with a touchscreen display, those who have their own desktop PC at home may not be able to use these gestures as easily.
It is also possible that widgets are only accessible when the operating system is used in tablet mode. Microsoft hasn’t spent much time focusing on the tablet experience so far, so this would be an interesting move.
WalkingCat has not yet revealed when to expect these improvements. However, Microsoft plans to make some seismic changes to its operating system later this year, which is now used by more than a billion people worldwide. The next major upgrade to Windows 10, codenamed Sun Valley within the company, will bring a completely new visual design – the first since the operating system was introduced more than half a decade ago and completely new features. Perhaps the introduction of widgets can be added to this list?