by Joel Hruska — Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Microsoft Windows 8 Explored at BUILD
Applications and UI
The new 'Welcome' screen is clearly related to its Windows Phone 7 counterpart. Date/time, email and message updates, WiFi level, battery power, and even a bit of scheduling information are all prominently displayed before the user has unlocked the device or logged in.
The "Start" page, zoomed out. When zoomed out, program tiles turn back into icons, presumably to lower the performance hit to the system. They can be re-arranged into groups, moving tiles from one group to another as desired. When zoomed in, we see program tiles, as shown below:
The difference between tiles and icons is that while icons are static representations of a program, tiles are updated "live" and display new information as it becomes available. Click on the Headlines tile (currently displaying a BMW in the screenshot above) and the app displays the following:
The latest RSS updates are available in real-time.
Browsing, like other applications, is presented in a "chromeless" full screen mode by default. Here you see what Microsoft is calling "charms." These are accessible via swiping and the bar is invisible by default. More on charms and how they function in a bit.
Here you can see how the browser handles tab-shifting and manual URLs. The back button, address bar, refresh button, "Pin" option, new page, and forward buttons are laid out at the bottom of the page, with already open tabs and the new tab button at the top.
Your System, Your Cloud
One of the other features of Windows 8 is the OS's ability to seamlessly share content from multiple sources. The Photo Feeder application is capable of indexing images from multiple cloud sources and the local hard drive. During the keynote demonstration, Julie Larson-Green, Corporate Vice President of Windows, shared the large concert photo with friends via Twitter, without first having to login to a different service or even specify where the original image was located.
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