Windows 8 Previewed – Completely Redesigned Windows Phone 7 Like UI

Submitted by lalit on June 2, 2011 - 2:10pm.

Yesterday, Microsoft did the first public preview of Windows 8 at the D9 conference in California and also at Computex 2011 in Taiwan. Windows 8 has a completely redesigned user interface (UI) that is aimed at touch computing (tablets). This is the first time that Microsoft has done such massive change in UI design since the launch of Windows 95 more than 16 years ago.

Windows 8 features a tile based start screen just like the Windows Phone 7, but the tiles are bigger providing much more information about the given application. Applications launch in full screen mode and are designed for touch input. You can swipe between applications by swiping your finger across the touchscreen. There is a new feature called Snap that allows you to snap two full screen apps side-by-side.

Microsoft claims Windows 8 is designed to scale from small touch screen devices to large screen devices, with or without a keyboard and mouse. The key aspects highlighted by Microsoft of the new Windows 8 UI were:

  • Fast launching of apps from a tile-based Start screen, which replaces the Windows Start menu with a customizable, scalable full-screen view of apps.
  • Live tiles with notifications, showing always up-to-date information from your apps.
  • Fluid, natural switching between running apps.
  • Convenient ability to snap and resize an app to the side of the screen, so you can really multitask using the capabilities of Windows.
  • Web-connected and Web-powered apps built using HTML5 and JavaScript that have access to the full power of the PC.
  • Fully touch-optimized browsing, with all the power of hardware-accelerated Internet Explorer 10.

The preview clearly showed that Microsoft was completely rethinking UI, especially for touchscreen devices. Also, the Tiles make more sense on a larger screen where they provide more information, than on a small screen of smartphone where they hardly give any information. Overall, the limited demo was impressive, but it will be interesting to see how Microsoft brings this new UI to the complete OS.

Below we have added two videos – first is a preview done by Julie Green at D9 Conference and the second is the preview done by Mike Angiulo at Computex 2011.