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Third-party widgets are coming to Windows 11, which might actually make them useful

Microsoft will allow third-party apps to bundle their own widgets starting later this year.

Enlarge / Microsoft will allow third-party apps to bundle their own widgets starting later this year. (credit: Microsoft)

When Windows 11 did away with support for Live Tiles, Microsoft attempted to relocate some of that quick, glance-able information into a new Widgets menu that lives in the taskbar alongside the Start and search menus. Our main issue with widgets in our Windows 11 review was that they were limited to Microsoft’s apps and services, with no mechanism for third parties to develop their own widgets.

That will change later this year, according to an announcement made at Microsoft’s Build developer conference. Third parties will be able to develop their own Windows 11 widgets “beginning later this year.” This suggests that it will be among the tweaks and new features coming for Windows 11 22H2, the operating system’s first big yearly update.

Widgets can be packaged as companions for both traditional Win32 apps and Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), and they’ll use the Adaptive Cards platform that Microsoft created to enable cross-platform widgets and UI previews.

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