A feature mimicking Apple's "widgets" scheduled to appear in Microsoft's Windows Vista will also show in the current Windows XP operating system, a Vista product manager said.
According to Sean Alexander, a group product manager with the Redmond, Wash.-based developer, the so-called "gadgets" in Vista will be produced for Windows XP as well.
"Gadgets will be available on XP -- officially," he wrote on his blog.
Gadgets are small, independent applications, often Web-enabled, that provide information -- a constantly-updated weather report, for instance -- or serve one-off functions, such as an onscreen notepad. They're similar to the widgets which Apple's Mac OS X offers, and to those that Yahoo's Konfabulator already puts on Windows desktops.
Although the news should be welcomed by XP users, one analyst questioned Microsoft's decision to give so much of Vista to owners of an older OS.
"Gadgets would join a growing list of Windows Vista technologies being made available for Windows XP, including Internet Explorer 7 and WinFX components," said JupiterResearch's Joe Wilcox on his blog. "Backward availability makes sense, because so many people use Windows XP and will for some time…[but] I remain concerned that these kinds of decisions will create marketing problems for Microsoft, as it tries to convince customers that Windows XP isn't good enough."