Gadgets (or gizmos) are considered to be the devices, which have specific useful purposes and functions to be performed in business. Every more or less educated person knows that nowadays gadgets tend to be more and more unusual or outstandingly designed than traditional normal technology. There has been a certain distinction between gadgets and gizmos. What is it? In some circles the mentioned distinction means that gismos have more moving parts while gadgets do not usually need them at all. It can easily be explained by the following example: a nifty digital watch is a gadget; an analog watch is considered to be a gizmo. It is necessary to admit that in contrast to the mentioned definitions a device of clever design which does not have any serious practical purpose is known to be called a novelty item.
It would be fair to say that the term 'gadget' was invented around 1884-1885 in New York City (just like majority of other words and terms). How was it invented? According to various reliable sources of information, when the day of the grand unveiling of the Statue of Liberty was approaching, the company called "Gaget, Gauthier & Cie" (which was behind the monument casting) wanted to have some PR-campaign. Later, the nickname of gadget was given to the first atomic bomb by the scientists of Manhattan Project which were testing at that time the Trinity site.
On the other hand, gadgets have best been known in popular films about spies and masters of espionage (particularly in the well-known series of James Bond), about superheroes (especially the ones with Iron Man and Batman acting in them: their promise revolved around equipment and numerous gadgets). There has also been a cartoon character whose super-powers came from the assortment of various gadgets. An outstanding example of such characters is Inspector Gadget and, no doubt, characters playing in the Disney cartoon show called "Chip n Dale's Rescue Rangers." One of its main characters (Gadget Hackwrench) was rather famous for possessing an innate ability for creating various tools and other gadgets out of junk and trash. There can also be travel gadgets.
So, gadgets have a rather long history and have been known in the world practice since the 19th century. It goes without saying that the primary meaning of this term has changed somehow. And nowadays gadgets include such devices as mp3 players, can openers, electric toothbrushes, blenders, clappers and, of course, other electronic business accessories (or digital accessories).
Among the most widely-spread modern gadgets are Microsoft gadgets which are referred to as mini applications which run on the Windows operating system, some mobile devices and web-sites. The core functionality of such gadgets is known to be provided by a special widget engine included into the Widows Vista and available as one of the downloads for Windows XP. In conclusion it should be said there are three types of Microsoft gadgets: desktop, web and device gadgets. They can be written in either dynamic HTML or Microsoft.Net languages.