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Software // Operating Systems
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4/6/2011
11:41 PM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
Commentary
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Windows 8 Influenced By Windows Phone 7

Microsoft's next desktop platform, Windows 8, is expected to take some interface cues from Windows Phone 7. Will something that works well on a tiny screen scale up to a larger monitor?

Microsoft has taken heat over decisions it made about how its mobile platforms worked. The first platform that had any sort of retail presence was Windows CE, released in the latter half of the 1990's. It looked exactly like Windows 95, even when on a tiny three inch screen.

When the Pocket PC was launched in 2000, the user interface was cleaned up quite a bit, but it still had that Windows start menu, application menus, and several other design elements that were lifted from the PC.

With Windows Phone 7, Microsoft threw out anything that remotely resembled its PC-based big brother and instead adopted the Metro interface that was born on the Zune media player. Now that interface may be making its way to the big screen when Windows 8 launches in 2012.

Paul Thurrott's Supersite for Windows has a few screen shots of what Microsoft is calling the Immersive UI. The main app you can see this in is Internet Explorer. It operates in a manner very similar to IE on Windows Phone 7.

It is still very early and things could change drastically between now and next year. The question is whether or not Microsoft has finally hit on a design element that will work well on both platforms? I am a bit skeptical.

On the phone, those tiles are very easy to handle with one finger. On the desktop those tiles seem to take up a lot of room that a mouse just doesn't need to effectively perform. We'll have to see as more info on Immersive is released throughout the beta cycle.

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