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Interactive Live Tiles for Windows are in the works at Microsoft – see them in action

Posted: , by Maxwell R.

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Interactive Live Tiles for Windows are in the works at Microsoft – see them in action
The “one experience” thrust that Microsoft is leading will make Live Tiles more than just a pretty face. Love them or hate them, Live Tiles are here to stay, and even with the revisions that Microsoft has made to Windows 8.1 for desktop users, the Live Tiles will have a presence even in the upcoming new start menu.

Like the widgets we find for Android devices, Live Tiles are the keystone to Microsoft’s strategy to unify the experience between smartphones, tablets and PCs.

Build 2014 showed us much of the progress being made, but based on these videos from Microsoft Research in Asia, we have a lot more to look forward to.  As they exist now, Live Tiles provide real-time content, but they are not interactive. They provide information to the user without the need to open the app, but the notifications are not actionable. Microsoft is working on some pretty neat enhancements to Live Tiles, and how they integrate to Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox.

Live Tiles will begin to have interactive shortcuts that allow almost instantaneous action without the need to dig into an app. Whether it is a modern app, or desktop application, the two environments will be even more interactive, and the Live Tiles will become more like dashboards.

Seeing the video demonstrations below, you can see some elements of the Windows Phone experience working its way up through the tablet and PC experience. The multitasking and integration will bring a number of enhancements as well.

While we have no indication if these features are set to arrive in the form of an update, or if it will be implemented as part of Windows 9 or Windows Phone 9.  The environment is being referred to as "Windows Next," which is a common practice to coin the next version of the OS in general.  We would not mind seeing these features arrive sooner rather than later.

source: WindowsBlogItalia (YouTube) via Microsoft News

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posted on 11 Apr 2014, 17:45 3

1. MR-H- (Posts: 116; Member since: 10 Apr 2014)

"Hate them" those fuzzy confusing tiles,,,,!

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 22:18

11. dome888 (Posts: 73; Member since: 10 Oct 2012)


posted on 12 Apr 2014, 04:48 10

25. dorian827 (Posts: 155; Member since: 28 Jul 2012)

Metro UI is alot more appealing. Its flat, its fast and its fun. I hated the icons all over the place on my Android with a variety of widgets everywhere.

Metro UI with Windows Phone 8. Simplifies this. I had (4) OS so im not being biased.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 07:38 1

35. sgodsell (Posts: 3623; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)

But you can make Android look and feel like WP if you so choose to. But Androids widgets can be interactive if you want them to be. You can make toggles and/or switches as well as launch into an app. You can only view or launch into the live tiles app. Making Androids widgets better then live tiles.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 15:58 2

45. elitewolverine (Posts: 5183; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)

look and feel, with a custom launcher (I would argue over 50% of droid users wouldn't know what you are talking about). Androids widgets can be interactive. But the word can, and like live tiles currently are half interactive with its flipping information that is normally integrated for a great number of their apps, is two different things.

What you are comparing is two different things. Of all the devices I deal with on a daily basis over 2/3's of android people don't use their widgets, nor use the 'power' of the droid. Nor use roms, or boot loaders or custom launchers etc.

posted on 13 Apr 2014, 14:03

53. Whodaboss (Posts: 176; Member since: 18 Nov 2011)

"Hate them"? Isn't that what little girls say before hitting puberty?

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 18:01 17

2. dre786 (Posts: 46; Member since: 10 Nov 2012)

i think wp has come a long way and its hear in the spotlight shining like it intended to MR-H- dont hate its better than your android

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 18:34 11

4. Awalker (Posts: 1498; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)

The tiles were just a dumbed down version of Android widgets anyway and now Microsoft wants to turn them into complete Android widgets.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 02:28 10

16. NokiaFTW (Posts: 2071; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)

^this is the limit of what a fandroid can stoop to. Live tiles are completely different than your stupid widgets and icons.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 07:12

30. Awalker (Posts: 1498; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)

How so?

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 06:58 3

28. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

Awalker, you should know that most anything android does or has done is thanks in great part to Symbian and its advancements, and despite its lack of development due to the shift to WP by its biggest supporter Nokia, in its native raw existence it is technically more capable than android. If anything we are seeing more and more SYMBIAN features being added to WP8.1 and Win8.1, qmd that's q good thing.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 07:03 2

29. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

Should read "and that's a good thing"^.

Also, Windows had widgets and interactive items back with the Sidebar on 7, maybe also Vista(?), so this is adding them back in but new, improved, and upfront.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 07:31 4

31. wolfsaviorzx (unregistered)

Agreed but Widgets were laggy and ugly. Live Tiles don't hog resources like a lot of widgets do. Still if Microsoft wants to go serious against Android, they only need to look at their own Desktop OS as to what to do. Let people run their own programs without going through Windows Store.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 07:45

37. sgodsell (Posts: 3623; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)

You just proved to the world how ignorant you really are. Androids widgets are apps. You can make them as seem less as you want. You can make them as interactive as you want (something that cannot be done with live tiles currently). Try making a live tile any size (oh that's right you are restricted to 3 sizes), Android has no limit. Try making making a widget have 3 toggle switches display information and be able to launch an app. That's right Android can do that, but all Windows cannot.

posted on 13 Apr 2014, 01:06

52. Pdubb (Posts: 248; Member since: 08 Aug 2011)

I have an android and I cannot resize widgets to any size. Please explain to me how to resize. I put the Google Now widget on one screen and it will not let me put anything else on the screen.( I have the Note3.)

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 08:00

39. Awalker (Posts: 1498; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)

Android in general was laggy and not as polished as other OS up until a few years ago but that doesn't negate what I said. Right now on my Nexus 5 I'm using several widget (time, weather, sound search, Google search, Flip Board and Pandora). None are hogging system resources.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 12:02

43. Arte-8800 (banned) (Posts: 4562; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)

and even if it was why do you kick of with the phone, why not ask those guys who stingy it was not using 4gb ram instead of 2gb ram, ram is cheap to buy

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 19:21 13

6. tech2 (Posts: 3451; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)

Wow the WP8.1 is not even rolled out and you WP fanboys are already acting like douchbags.

Going by MS's pace, this feature might not come until Q3, 2015 on WP(and I am being generous) judging by the trend/history that WP 8.1 will release almost a year later than full 8.1.

And you really think by then Google will offer no improvements to Android and wait for MS to catch-up ?

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 19:30 6

7. iguano (Posts: 101; Member since: 10 May 2012)

uh? this videos are about FULL Windows 8, not wp, so do you believe that android its better than windows 8?...

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 03:16 4

19. NokiaFTW (Posts: 2071; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)

Android maybe the top mobile OS, but it certainly can't top a desktop OS like Windows 8 in features and functionality. At least not yet.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 04:27 6

23. sbw44 (Posts: 433; Member since: 04 Dec 2012)

The way I see it is Android Trolls who are the Douchbags! I mean you don't see anyone on android news commenting about how WP are better!

You guys are the douchs buddy.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 05:05

26. tech2 (Posts: 3451; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)

So you are saying is android fans can't comment on WP news and vice versa ? Who made that rule and why wasn't I told about it ? lol

The reason why I wrote what I wrote only applies to him because HE WAS INSULTING ANDROID, smarty pants. I've no problem with WP or their fans (I actually own a 520 as a secondary device) but I despise the ones who insult other OSes for no reason (especially based on a rumour which may or may not become true and certainly not in the near future).

Also, by your logic, what were do doing complaining about Lumia 1020 on a Z2 article ?

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 09:55 1

42. NokiaFTW (Posts: 2071; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)

Androids can COMMENT anywhere and everywhere they want. However, some don't understand the difference between a comment and HATING or TROLLING. And also, the DxO marks isn't credible at all. The Lumia 1020 tops each and every website in camera comparisons. That comparison was just biased. The Lumia 1020 has the best camera in the market. If you don't like the OS it runs, its fine, but NO phone can beat its camera. It can only be beaten by its own successor.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 07:52

38. sgodsell (Posts: 3623; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)

Liars. You get WP douchbags as you call them on Android articles all the time now.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 07:34 1

32. wolfsaviorzx (unregistered)

Um Windows Desktop not Windows Phone. It's not Linux vs Windows. It's X86 vs Arm. I like Windows 8 and Ubuntu. Find Android and Windows phone/RT a complete joke.

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 18:16 16

3. Liveitup (Posts: 1798; Member since: 07 Jan 2014)

Microsoft is redefining the user interface and UI design in general.

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 19:08 9

5. vincelongman (Posts: 4421; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)

IMO Start screen is better than old start menu, much quicker and less ulgy
Also for PC gamers get Steam Tile and/or OblyTile, then you can turn it into a beautiful game lanucher

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 07:35

33. wolfsaviorzx (unregistered)

I think if they can figure out how to do both, why not. I like Start Screen for Laptops/Tablets but still prefer start menu if I'm at a desk.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 17:57

48. vincelongman (Posts: 4421; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)

I still prefer the start screen for desktops, I think its much faster and better looking than the old start menu

I'm all for the option of the choosing old start menu vs the start screen or even using both of them together
I respect that others have different opinions, options are great so people can chose what they like

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 21:23 4

9. alterecho (Posts: 1098; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)

Its not suitable for mouse and keyboard.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 04:22 3

22. vincelongman (Posts: 4421; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)

That was the problem with Windows 8

I've been using Windows 8.1 on my gaming PC since I built it after Christmas holidays, never had any trouble using it with mouse and keyboard
Sure it's easier on my hybrid with it's touchscreen and trackpad, but its still very easy to use with mouse and keyboard

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 09:02

41. alterecho (Posts: 1098; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)

You have a trackpad and a touchscreen. Plus, while gaming, most of the time is spent in the game, rather than the desktop of the OS.

For usage, other than gaming, where you spend considerable time in the desktop/explorer, Its rather tedious to be dragging your mouse across the screen (and mouse mat).

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 16:07 2

46. elitewolverine (Posts: 5183; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)


I have been using win8 since before it was launched to the public, never looked back and thought anything was hard. Had to learn a few new things, but that would be the process in anything. If I was to go to Linux or OS I would be more lost than win7-8.

We have no clue what you mean by tedious dragging your mouse, ummmmm that's what a desktop is, mouse interaction. If you cannot use tiles with a mouse, you sir are about as useless as a no armed man trying to use a mouse in any situation. If I take your comment what I think it would be, meaning that the live tiles are not suitable for a mouse even though you are clicking on them like everything on a desktop from windows 1.x to windows 8.x

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 23:35

50. alterecho (Posts: 1098; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)

The Metro/Modern UI feels forced upon. Before Win 8, with the good old start menu, every window is not blocked by it, unlike W8. With the old start menu, the movement of mouse is limited to the lower left (or other corners, depending upon on your taskbar setting). This allows for rapid switching between windows and we could have a constant view of the open windows.

Now, in Windows 8, the start menu looks like a different app and since the icons are tiles, and they are big and scroll horizontally, it takes longer to spot the required icon for a file/application.
The control panel and settings are a mess. The power toggles is/was a mess.

One thing that Windows 8 does better is the unified search.

But then again, this is a bipolar OS. But with huge majority against it.
If you're okay with it, fine. Atleast, unlike in Windows Phone 8, there aren't any lack of features (that i know of) since i'm on Windows 7.

posted on 13 Apr 2014, 00:39

51. vincelongman (Posts: 4421; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)

I pin my favorite apps on the taskbar, then pin more apps I use on the start screen
If I want use an app not on my taskbar or start screen, I use the windows+Q shortcut, then type the first few letters of the app, then launch it

IMO its much quicker than looking for it in the old start menu, much less clicks, though you have to use the keyboard

I agree that the control panel is still a mess in W8.1, I hope they tide it up soon. I don't really use the control much except for uninstall apps, which I my a tile for.

Power toggles was fixed in W8.1 with the right click start menu and even more in W8.1 U1 with the power toggle also in the start screen now

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 17:52

47. vincelongman (Posts: 4421; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)

Actually by gaming PC I meant my desktop PC, I just said gaming because I used mid range CPU (i5)/GPU (760). It only has a $20 mouse and keyboard

Mouse and keyboard on 8.1 is just like 7 or Mac OS X or XP, where you also drag your mouse around the screen

And used my gaming for everything, uni work (including CAD design), browsing web, watching movies

The reason I chose PC over the console was because its cheaper (in my situation), far better graphics and much more versatile

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 21:16 7

8. clevername (Posts: 1436; Member since: 11 Jul 2008)

Not to troll, but think these are way better than android widgets. The reason is they have a button to expand and minimize, and the ability to transfer info to other devices. Very well done cant wait.

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 21:47 6

10. james004 (Posts: 486; Member since: 15 May 2013)

Most people havent used windows phone and havent tried the widgets in windows 8 as much, People just love to hate things.
Windows tiles are very good. much better than android in some aspect.
Yes its not customizable and i really hope Microsoft offers that in future.
there are still alot of improvement that is needed in Windows 8.
It is like in Ice cream sandwich version of android. just give it some time.
I would love to see windows phone go head to head with android some day. Until then im using android.
but ill continue using windows for pc. Also look forward to Chromebook and see what comes out that in future.

posted on 11 Apr 2014, 23:14

12. express77 (unregistered)

just give us a choice between original start menu and metro start menu until user like it more than old one.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 07:37 1

34. wolfsaviorzx (unregistered)

Already confirmed in a future update. Tablet style Windows 8 devices will use the Start Screen while Desktop will have start menu (either is customizable).

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 01:16 1

13. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 3689; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)

The skewmorphic windows 7 looked way better than flat windows 8. They can make flat look ugly.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 02:02 4

14. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3535; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)

W7 sucks compared to 8

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 02:34 2

17. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 3689; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)

really? you must be one of a kind. lol Sales and market share say otherwise. they dont lie.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 03:01 6

18. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3535; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)

People are just lazy and never accept if something changes. W8 is faster, smoother, has much more features, easier to use (yes it really is) and looks more modern. W7 looks outdated.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 03:18 5

20. NokiaFTW (Posts: 2071; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)

I agree with you. After upgrading to Windows 8, Windows 7 feels old and outdated.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 03:31 4

21. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3535; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)

Exactly. You only realize the benefits of W8 after using it for a while. It's impossible to even think about switching back to 7 and lose all the features

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 08:31 1

40. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

Computers last longer, people don't feel inclined to upgrade them as much, especially when they're dropping more money on phones, and there isn't a huge incentive to change that as much for now. It's not like folks are rushing to buy computers en masse, and it's not like apple is selling the computers that other OEMs aren't, so your argument holds no validity. The best approach to 8/8.1 from other OSes is to more or less forget most of what you know about how computers work, and try the fresh approach, as it becomes extremely intuitive, especially with touch or a touchpad.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 02:13

15. platformwars (Posts: 86; Member since: 14 Sep 2012)

Wow.. looked at the videos.. i must say that im impressed with the stuff that they are doing.. but my only problem is that they take alot of time to implement the things in the softwares. I hope this comes quickly and we dont need to carry a laptop,tablet and a phone when we travel. a phone is enough as it has all the core applications needed for a normal user. I know that they and other OS already have office and cloud computing for this experience but i believe that with this update people will be happy to stay on 1 ecosystem because of the convinience it provides. Most of my friends who have an iPhone are really impressed with Android but dont wanna shift because they have Macbooks, iPads and other Apple products. This is what MS is planning.. to bind the users to thier Ecosystem.. Apple used iPhone as their building block, MS is gonna use the desktop OS.. But very good.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 07:41

36. wolfsaviorzx (unregistered)

If Microsoft doesn't let people use non-store signed apps, they won't win. Reason Windows Desktop and Android is so successful is because it's simple, doesn't lock you to one device and most importantly doesn't lock you into a monopoly digital store. If microsoft surrendered on that one front, they will win. People will get over all their "complaints"/nitpicks of windows phone.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 12:17

44. NokiaFTW (Posts: 2071; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)

So what would you attribute iOS's success to?

posted on 21 Apr 2014, 20:06

54. wolfsaviorzx (unregistered)

iPhone came first, it's like the Apple 2 (if you remember...). Apple does something new and different (not necessary good) than others improve and are more consumer friendly. Now Android has beaten IOS. People who have an Iphone are stuck in the ecosystem but they are slowing leaving.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 04:38 1

24. 1701nino (unregistered)

This is great,if this is implemented in windows phone OS this year i may buy a WP device,those Nokia devices look pretty sexy.Listen people my philosophy is take the best from both worlds,meaning i have an ipad(for family),nexus 4 and a desktop pc with win 8.1 update 1.So you can enjoy every aspect of modern technology.

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 06:13 1

27. 7thspaceman (Posts: 1544; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)

Folks I bet that you will see these features on windows 9 Desktop computers/Laptops and Windows 9 series smart phones. execs at Microsoft already say that modern Ui tiles apps will be able to to be put on the desktop in a resizable window in the future. I think that the best way to use Windows 8.1 as it now is to set it to boot directly to the desktop
so you can quickly use the mouse and keyboard programs of old and use the the Modern UI tiles screen as a secondary screen to put access tiles of programs you do not use all the time plus you can access and use all the good Windows tiles apps you can get from the windows 8.1 store. this the smart way to use windows 8.1 if to use a lot of mouse and keyboard programs

posted on 12 Apr 2014, 19:39

49. 7thspaceman (Posts: 1544; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)

I get bored over theses comments about this or that Smart phone OS being the best. or who stole this features from another's OS. the Chinese government found out that Microsoft has at least 200 smart phone patents that Android smart phones use, Nokia has other patents and Apple has their smart phone patents that they can get royalties on. it's a mess that only makes the LAW FIRMS who work on patent cases RICH. What it is coming down to is what is your Personal preference because all the smart phones Operating systems are improving.
I use a MS windows smart phone for my personal reasons other folks use Android or Apple smart phones for their personal reasons. GET WHAT WORKS WELL FOR YOU.

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