From very beginning with Windows 11, Microsoft was stating that the new Widgets feature will support third-party mini apps. However, we are now close to the release of Windows 11 22H2, and yet it lacks third-party widget support. This situation finally changes.
If you aren't familiar with Widgets feature, it is something that may remind you of "gadgets" in Windows Vista/7. They are mini apps that "live" in a special area that opens from the taskbar or with the Win+W shortcut. Widgets show news, weather, and stocks, and similar information.
Microsoft is positioning them as a customizable platform that supports third-party data provides. Independent developers will be able to build custom widgets to extend capabilities of the feature. But the release version of Windows 11 only includes widgets made by Microsoft.
Now, Microsoft has updated the widget manifest. The updated entries indicate that Windows 11 will allow downloading third party widgets from the Microsoft Store. These widgets will also be able to receive updates, again from the Store.
The ability to install non-Microsoft widgets greatly extends the value of this feature. The default set of widgets aims to deliver you MSN news, OneDrive information, To Do lists, and so on. Custom widgets will be able to use alternative sources for news, and may display some additional data. You can imagine a widget that shows cryptocurrency rates, an alternative weather widget, and so on. Personally, I would like to have a Google Calendar widget, even with read-only data.
There is no exact date specified for the feature to land in the stable Windows 11 version. Either way, supporting third-party widgets won't give users a bunch of new widgets all at once. Developers must have their own interest and reasons to start working on widgets for Windows 11 (via @Firecube).
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