Microsoft Experiments with Cool Interactive Live Tiles

Interactive Live Tiles
Interactive live tiles on Windows Next bridge gap between Start Screen and Desktop

By Stephen Pate – So far Windows 8.1 just looks like a pretty face without any real improved features.  Windows Next with  Interactive Live Tiles may take computing to a whole new level, blurring the boundaries between the Tile, the App and Data.

The video below demonstrates live tile interactive features that allow you to do actions that now require the application to open, like browsing mail, checking the weather and picking music tracks or lists.

The concept is to get more information on the front screen on demand and allow more interactivity with the apps and data, called parallel tasking.

These experimental new features are being developed at the Human-Computer Interaction Group of Microsoft Research in Asia. They may never get released but they show us how far Windows 8 can go with the current vision.

Live tiles become interactive by enlarging the tile from the lower right corner. The mail tile will show unread email, for example, and allow you to read it. The novelty of this update would push the concept of multitasking even further than any computer operating system today.

Check out this short promo video posted by WindowsBlogItalia. The 2nd video contains a live demonstration. In the three videos you can see the advantage of using Windows to interactively access information from the desktop, tablet and smartphone.

So how does it all work? Watch the video as Zijing Zhang, the Microsoft researcher, demonstrates the features on desktop and mobile screens.

A notification center based on Windows Contacts and People connections would resemble the Action Center in Windows Phone 8.1 .

The third video demonstrates moving interactively from the Start Screen Live Tiles to the apps, both Modern and Desktop.  Parallel processing, cross-device worm holes, interactive notifications – all new concepts demonstrated here.

Innovations now being developed at Microsoft Labs would change the whole Start Screen.  Another element that could enhance multi-tasking would be interactive tiles with Desktop apps and object transfer between tiles.

On the Microsoft Research site, the “Interactive Tile” project is described this way:

“This project features an Interactive-Tile UI system that enables users to access and manipulate Live Tiles in an interactive way with touch gestures. Interactive Tile’s UI is responsive and flexible to an app’s content and function. Users can provide quick input to the Interactive Tile on the Start screen. With a perception of Start as an entrance page, Interactive Tiles were introduced to empower the start screen with an intermediate access level to applications.”

All of this is experimental and may not reach users but it looks exciting.  Even as  it is today, Windows 8.1 is an improvement over Windows 7  and Vista.  People crave novelty and innovation and it shows Microsoft has the ideas and talent.  Microsoft took down their pages on this topic.

Follow me on Twitter at @sdpate or on Facebook at NJN Network, OyeTimes and IMA News Buzz.  Sources Engadget, ZDnet and WindowsBlogItalia.

By Stephen Pate, NJN Network

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