Clocks, bicycles, and thermometers are amongst the very large number of gadgets that are mechanical and also very popular. The invention of mechanical gadgets though is based more on innovation from the inventor rather than his education
Electronic gadgets are based on transistors and integrated circuits. Unlike the mechanical gadgets one needs a source of electric power to use it. The most common electronic gadgets include transistor radio, television, cell phones and th
e quartz watch.
Most of the modern gadgets belong to this category.
The earliest documented use of the term gadget in context of software engineering was in 1985 by the developers of AmigaOS, the operating syste
m of the Amiga computers Intuition Amiga|intuition.library and also later gadtools.library'. It denotes what other technological traditions call GUI widget—a control element in graphical user interface. This naming convention remains in continuing use (as of 2008) since then.
It is not known whether other software companies are explicitly drawing on that inspiration when featuring the word in names of their technologies or simply referring to the generic meaning. The word widget is older in this context.