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Early Windows 8 concepts had a widgets panel like Windows 11

Every now and then, some interesting nuggets of information crop up about older versions of Windows, and recently, former Windows engineer Stefen Sinofsky shared a look at an early version of Windows 8. On his Hardcore Software channel on YouTube, Sinofsky posted a video that was shown to Microsoft employees at the time as the company wrapped up a meeting about plans for the then-upcoming version of Windows. While the first half of the video is focused on the people involved in the project, towards the end, we get to see some screenshots of early Windows 8 concepts, and some of them are quite interesting.

The video highlights a few concepts that we take for granted today, like access to your files from anywhere through the cloud, a do not disturb mode, automatic network switching, and more. It also briefly mentions connectivity with Windows Phone. But the really interesting part starts when we see actual screenshots and videos of how the initial concepts for Windows 8 looked like in 2010. First, we see this concept for the Start screen, already featuring tiles of various sizes, but with some additional navigation down at the bottom.

A screenshot of an early Windows 8 concept showcasing a Start screen with various tiles. The image also shows two levels of navigation to find isntalled apps or new content.

You can see sections for different kinds of apps, but also a “What’s new” tab and a Marketplace tab, suggesting the Windows Store might have built right into the Start page experience. Another clip shows what the Marketplace would look like, with apps displayed in tile form, similar to the Start screen itself.

Perhaps even more interesting is what shows up later, a clip showing a sidebar displaying various content from what appear to be installed apps, including sports results, weather, and a summary view of someone’s eBay profile.

Screenshot of a Windows 8 concept showing a sidebar housing multiple widgets from different apps

The concept seems very similar in spirit to what we see today in the Windows 11 Widgets panel, and it’s very interesting to see Microsoft brought the idea back over 10 years later. Except, unlike in this concept, Windows 11 still doesn’t have third-party widgets, and all the ones that exist only display content from the web. Something else that’s seen in this screenshot is that Microsoft was seemingly playing with the idea of having a completely transparent taskbar – something we still have yet to see in a finalized product today.

A few other interesting concepts include the ability to share apps by simply dragging them from the “widgets” sidebar into a post composer on a social network like Twitter. We also see simpler things like support for multiple wallpapers on different monitors, as well as the ability to see the taskbar on all monitors, which are things we fully expect today. You can watch the full video above to see all these ideas in motion.

Would you have liked Windows 8 more if it incorporated more of these concepts? Lets us know in the comments!

Source: Hardcore Software (YouTube)

The post Early Windows 8 concepts had a widgets panel like Windows 11 appeared first on XDA.

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