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A GUIDE TO WINDOWS VISTA
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Microsoft Gadgets are light-weight single-purpose applications that can sit on the user's computer desktop, or hosted on a web page. According to Microsoft, it will be possible for the different types of gadgets to run on different environments. Web gadgets can also be run on the Windows sidebar and Windows desktop. and, Sidebar Gadgets are easily ported to be compatible with Sideshow secondary display applications.
Web Gadgets run on Web sites such as Live.com and Windows Live Spaces
Live.com lets users add RSS feeds in order to view news at a glance. Building off Microsoft's start.com experimental page, Live.com can be customized with Web Gadgets, mini-applications that can serve almost any purpose (e.g. mail readers, weather reports, slide shows, search, games, etc.). Some gadgets integrate with other Windows Live services, including Mail, Search, and Favorites.
Users can create multiple site tabs and customize each with different feeds, gadgets, layouts, and color schemes.
Desktop gadgets is desktop widgets; small specialized applications that are designed to do simple tasks, such as clocks, calendars, RSS notifiers or search tools. They can run on the desktop and on the Windows Sidebar.
The Windows Sidebar is a panel found in either the right side (default) or the left side of the Windows desktop. It is integrated with the Windows Vista operating system, the latest version of Microsoft Windows.
The Sidebar is a widget engine for Desktop Gadgets, mini-applications which can be used to simultaneously display different information such as the system time, Internet-powered features such as RSS feeds, and to control external applications such as Windows Media Player. Desktop Gadgets can run on the Windows desktop and on the Windows sidebar.
SideShow gadgets is Microsoft's implementation of Widgets which run on auxiliary external displays, such as on the outside of a laptop or even on an LCD panel in a keyboard, and potentially mobile phones and other devices.
Windows SideShow is a new technology that lets Windows Vista drive auxiliary, small displays of various form-factors where ready-access to bite-size bits of information could be imagined. These include displays embedded on the outside of a laptop lid or on a detachable device, enabling access to information and media even when the main system is in a standby mode. Data can also be displayed on cell phones and other network-connected devices via Bluetooth and other connectivity options.
The display can be updated with a number of different kinds of information, such as contacts, maps, calendar, and email. This can then be consulted while the mobile PC is otherwise powered down. Since the underlying platform is so power-efficient, it can run for hundreds of hours without draining a notebook battery, while still providing always-on access to data and multimedia content.
Sideshow is coupled to the Windows Vista Sidebar capability – that is, Sidebar Gadgets are easily ported to be compatible with Sideshow secondary display applications. However, hardware and silicon providers can also provide native capabilities to allow for richer multimedia applications such as text, image, audio and video decode / playback. For example, a notebook with an in-lid display could be used as an mp3 player while powered down, with the notebook battery providing hundreds of hours of playback time because of the low power footprint that the Sideshow platform maintains.
Other products in the desktop widget market include: