Microsoft: Gadgets offer developer opportunity

Developers can make money building Gadgets for Microsoft's Windows Vista, the company said.

Developers have an opportunity to derive revenue from developing mini-applications, called Gadgets, for Microsoft's Windows Vista OS, a company executive said at MIX 06 Tuesday.

During his keynote at the Las Vegas conference, Joe Belfiore, vice president of Microsoft's eHome division, said that developers can build Gadgets for hardware OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to pre-install on computers running the Vista OS once it ships later this year.

"OEMs can prepopulate machines with Gadgets," he said. Gadgets are Web-connected mini-applications that run independent of the browser and display real-time information, such as stock quotes or news headlines. They also can offer quick-view ways for users to stay connected to Web-based applications they use all the time, such as music players and e-mail.

There will be a feature in the control panel of Vista that allows users to manage Gadgets, Belfiore showed during his keynote. He encouraged developers to partner with hardware vendors to deliver their applications as Gadgets for Vista.

"Our intent is to connect your valuable services with consumers so both of you will have a better experience," he told MIX 06 attendees, who are mainly Web developers and designers.

Microsoft introduced Gadgets as part of its Live set of services last November. The company has a Web site, http://microsoftgadgets.com/, where developers and users can download free Gadgets that have been developed by Microsoft and third parties.

Currently, Gadgets can be integrated into a user's customized home page on their Windows Live site at http://live.com. Once Vista ships, however, they will be an integral part of a user's desktop experience through a new Vista feature called Sidebar, which is displayed on the main desktop of the OS.

By offering a platform for Gadgets in this way, Microsoft will enable rich, Web-based content that runs "beyond the browser," Belfiore said.

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