Rumour: An update to the Windows Phone 8 interface?

The Windows Phone platform is a bit of a strange one. While it garners great reviews from almost anyone that uses it, and the average Joe user’s attention will almost certainly be piqued when they see it, most consumers still choose to go with Android or iOS for their smartphone needs.

The Windows Phone 7 home screen got a makeover for Windows Phone 8, being able to use three tile sizes, rather than just two, giving the user much more flexibility in displaying their apps on their Start screen.

Now, thanks to Mary Jo Foley from ‘All About Microsoft’, it’s come out that Microsoft, in an upcoming update, could be about to introduce another column of tiles to the Start screen – the smallest tile size we should add. At the moment, Windows Phone 8 displays the tiles in column form; in one wide column for the largest, two columns for the medium sized tiles and finally four columns for the smallest size.

By adding the extra column for the smallest size of tile, it will help Microsoft combat interface woes when displaying the OS on the recently rumoured five inch, 1080p, screens that the OS will soon support. The image, mocked up by Windows Phone Daily, shows what the Start screen might look like with additional column.

The update, quirkily known as GDR3 (General Distribution Release 3), is expected to add the additional column of tiles, but more importantly support for higher resolution - 1080p - displays, quad-core processors and changes to the core apps available. It’s currently unclear if the interface changes will make their way to the 720p displays of the current high end Windows Phone 8 handsets.

With Windows Phone having the most unique interface of the three main smartphone platforms, giving users the choice of adding an additional tile or two horizontally, rather than vertically might help entice more users away from the “same old, same old” interface that Android and iOS have been offering.

Source: ZDNet
Via and Image: Windows Phone Daily | Thanks to forum member Muhammad Farrukh for the heads up

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46 Comments

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I rather have them working on the tiles them self.
What point is there to set my mail tile on the biggest. It doesn't show the last mail, not even a summary of the received mails.. Its just a giant ugly ass mail icon.
Same for the messenger, the phone, music, internet, games, onenote... everything... its all an ugly static tile.
Common Microsoft, you want us to appreciate WP8 more, at least follow your own goddamn design principles.
Only the people, photos and calendar tile seem to update and show info. Altho the calendar might show more then the 1 notification on a giant tile.

They need to move those rows up by default also. On my 820, as in the screenshot also, WP8 cuts off that bottom row just so it leaves room at the top to tap and see battery life etc.

You can fit a whole other row in if you just slide them up a little and still leave room to tap at the top, which looks much cleaner.

Walrush said,
They need to move those rows up by default also. On my 820, as in the screenshot also, WP8 cuts off that bottom row just so it leaves room at the top to tap and see battery life etc.

You can fit a whole other row in if you just slide them up a little and still leave room to tap at the top, which looks much cleaner.


or scroll down a little bit before you lock it. When you unlock it, you come back scrolled with the icons against the top part of your screen.

AsherGZ said,
For 1920x1080 resolution, they'll have to add one column and two rows if they wan't to stay in 16:9 perspective.

Which is what they will hopefully do on 5"+ devices. I love having the extra icons on my Galaxy Note 2. I really want a 5"+ WP8 phone. The 4.5" screen on my 920 doesn't cut it.

How about getting the menu showing in landscape mode so potential landscape slider phones could hit the market! I want the Slider back. Who needs a screen being 50% filled with a stupid on screen keyboard?

-adrian- said,
How about getting the menu showing in landscape mode so potential landscape slider phones could hit the market! I want the Slider back. Who needs a screen being 50% filled with a stupid on screen keyboard?

I agree... I would like to see slider options out there.

-adrian- said,
How about getting the menu showing in landscape mode so potential landscape slider phones could hit the market! I want the Slider back. Who needs a screen being 50% filled with a stupid on screen keyboard?

There were landscape sliders in the original WP7 launch and the home screen didn't rotate so that didn't hold them back. Then everyone decided physical keyboards are only for low end devices and since the 2nd generation there have been no WP devices with keyboards or any high end Android devices with keyboards.

mrp04 said,

There were landscape sliders in the original WP7 launch and the home screen didn't rotate so that didn't hold them back. Then everyone decided physical keyboards are only for low end devices and since the 2nd generation there have been no WP devices with keyboards or any high end Android devices with keyboards.


Would love the option for the Home screen to go into landscape mode. Easy as pie with these square tiles I think.

Kinda hate that when i'm playing a game and want to check a message in between... everything is landscape EXCEPT the homescreen.

laserfloyd said,
It would just be for the larger 5"+ devices I'm guessing.

With the ridiculous resolution of the 920, I wouldn't mind having an extra row. My eyes are fine and I cant see the pixels without a magnifying glass or jamming my eye into the screen. And could easily know to recognize a mail icon or onenote even it was 1/4th smaller.

While this could be good in a sense it concerns me. I am in the middle of starting an rfp/rfi to consider replacing our ios deployment with either win8/wp8 or android. If MS does this it could be a potential issue.

#Michael said,
While this could be good in a sense it concerns me. I am in the middle of starting an rfp/rfi to consider replacing our ios deployment with either win8/wp8 or android. If MS does this it could be a potential issue.

How is it an issue? Surely you would get the latest OS available at the time. It's not like Android never update their OS.

#Michael said,
While this could be good in a sense it concerns me. I am in the middle of starting an rfp/rfi to consider replacing our ios deployment with either win8/wp8 or android. If MS does this it could be a potential issue.

How is it an issue? Surely you would get the latest OS available at the time. It's not like Android never update their OS.

The potential issue is because we need to choose what the OS version is that we choose to have on the devices when we do the rollout. All of the apps on them need to be verified to work on it at that time. Once that is done we do a freeze and prevent any updates from happening. It is concerning if we start an rfp/rfi on this at 8.0.8821(current ver. ??) and then they suddenly do a big update to the OS which causes us to start over.

#Michael said,
The potential issue is because we need to choose what the OS version is that we choose to have on the devices when we do the rollout. All of the apps on them need to be verified to work on it at that time. Once that is done we do a freeze and prevent any updates from happening. It is concerning if we start an rfp/rfi on this at 8.0.8821(current ver. ??) and then they suddenly do a big update to the OS which causes us to start over.
How is this different than any other OS? God I'm glad you don't work for me.

The way software gets updated now a days you'll never release a product. What did you do when iOS releases point updates through out the year? It's no different with WP8/W8 or Andriod.

#Michael said,
The potential issue is because we need to choose what the OS version is that we choose to have on the devices when we do the rollout. All of the apps on them need to be verified to work on it at that time. Once that is done we do a freeze and prevent any updates from happening. It is concerning if we start an rfp/rfi on this at 8.0.8821(current ver. ??) and then they suddenly do a big update to the OS which causes us to start over.

Stay away from mobile then. Every OS updates frequently. iOS, Android and WP. Nokia phones have gotten several firmware updates since release, WP8 has already seen 1 OS patch with another coming late spring/early summer.

Mobile is changing way to fast to try to lockdown the phone to an OS version.

This is odd to me, since all software is constantly in a state of change. How would your company handle patching zero day exploits? You can't, since the update could come at any time. The way we handled an RFP/I was based on a particular major version (major.major.minor.minor ie 4.5.3.1), and if the delivered product came with a different minor point release then so be it -- there's no way to guarantee that the version declared in the RFP/I will be what's loaded on the product when delivered, since the RFP/I process can take months. You just have to roll with it.

We are a fortune 100 company with about 50K devices out in the field. We can't have the devices with multiple versions of the OS on it...it just isn't manageable. For iOS we have chosen 6.01 as are golden image that is approved for company use on provided devices. If any person uses a BYOD then it must be 6.0.1 or above. Through our UTM and firewall rules no company device can be upgraded OTA and itunes cannot be installed on any workstation. It is as simple as that. We are now in the process of approving 6.1.3 for company use. As soon as it has gone through our QA and all apps have been approved by our departments then it will be deployed.

You all may think this is straight forward to let people upgrade as they see fit but try running a mobile unit within a fortune 500 or 100 environment and see how it works. It is a cluster**** and a nightmare.

MrHumpty said,
How is this different than any other OS? God I'm glad you don't work for me.

Agreed. Software gets updated... In what world do we in the IT field not have to address an update being released?? This is just ridiculous.

M_Lyons10 said,

Agreed. Software gets updated... In what world do we in the IT field not have to address an update being released?? This is just ridiculous.
That all sounds true until you say "Fortune 100." Then **** gets real.

I will admit, with Android and custom corporate app's you're talking about some possible hiccups, but iOS and ongoing with WP8. It's just creating useless busy work.

#Michael said,
We are a fortune 100 company with about 50K devices out in the field. We can't have the devices with multiple versions of the OS on it...it just isn't manageable. For iOS we have chosen 6.01 as are golden image that is approved for company use on provided devices. If any person uses a BYOD then it must be 6.0.1 or above. Through our UTM and firewall rules no company device can be upgraded OTA and itunes cannot be installed on any workstation. It is as simple as that. We are now in the process of approving 6.1.3 for company use. As soon as it has gone through our QA and all apps have been approved by our departments then it will be deployed.

You all may think this is straight forward to let people upgrade as they see fit but try running a mobile unit within a fortune 500 or 100 environment and see how it works. It is a cluster**** and a nightmare.

Ahh details, if you would posted some background information in your initial post the rest of the responses would have been more kinder

Not sure what locks the windows phone has from an enterprise perspective but you should be able to block OTA updates on the device.

#Michael said,
For iOS we have chosen 6.01 as are golden image that is approved for company use on provided devices. If any person uses a BYOD then it must be 6.0.1 or above.

You talked yourself out of your original point. If you're stating 6.01 or higher for iOS is ok then all you are doing is setting a minimum version with no ceiling if anyone can walk in off the street with a device running 6.01 or higher.

Except these aren't possible hiccups. I currently have a 10 page roadmap for ios 6.1.3 deployment. 15 departments with 22 apps have to sign off on this before we begin limited testing and rollout. Currently, all but 3 departments have approved their apps. The 3 that have failed, their QA process has found multiple points of failure and now estimates May 1 for approval.

Doing a upgrade for every point release just isn't possible. When you have to coordinate with network/firewall ops, desktop/helpline support, field techs, and everything in-between it is a huge project.

@scorp508

For BYOD devices, yes that can happen and since those are personal devices there is nothing we can do about that. For corporate issued devices through our MDM platform we have policies in place that prevent the person from getting into settings. It doesn't totally prevent it from being updated but makes it harder. So yes, if the device was wiped, then it could be updated. My point is that in this environment we have to have set standards and some form of compliance or we would have no way of controlling mobile devices. It would go from the nightmare that it is already to complete disaster.

#Michael said,
Except these aren't possible hiccups. I currently have a 10 page roadmap for ios 6.1.3 deployment. 15 departments with 22 apps have to sign off on this before we begin limited testing and rollout. Currently, all but 3 departments have approved their apps. The 3 that have failed, their QA process has found multiple points of failure and now estimates May 1 for approval.

Doing a upgrade for every point release just isn't possible. When you have to coordinate with network/firewall ops, desktop/helpline support, field techs, and everything in-between it is a huge project.

So you're saying you have bad developers?

MrHumpty said,
So you're saying you have bad developers?

Not for me to say. Personally and professionally I don't have a say in how they develop the apps. Once the QA process has been finished and approved then I can move through the roadmap and begin the rollout process. Now, granted their issues are making my life harder but I cannot control their problems.

primortal said,

Ahh details, if you would posted some background information in your initial post the rest of the responses would have been more kinder

Not sure what locks the windows phone has from an enterprise perspective but you should be able to block OTA updates on the device.

Sometimes it is a balancing act between what I can and cannot post on internet forums. A lot of company info is proprietary and while I enjoy talking about it, I find it hard to control what I say sometimes. So, most of the time I say nothing.

That being said, WP8 has some interesting abilities in the enterprise world and it is a very viable platform to use.

You do realize that GDR 3 isn't even close to being ready? They haven't even considered rolling out GDR 2! Not to mention the fact that the software development kits haven't changed much (if at all) since WP8 was released.

Anthony S said,
You do realize that GDR 3 isn't even close to being ready? They haven't even considered rolling out GDR 2! Not to mention the fact that the software development kits haven't changed much (if at all) since WP8 was released.

Didn't read what he said huh, he isn't a developer. He handles the network/systems/deployment.
He cant roll out if all the departments haven't approved of it yet. Doesn't really matter if the OS changed or not.
I haven't worked at a Fortune 100/500 company, but I have for a governmental thing with 60.000 work spaces. And if you do not keep the systems on the same version, problems will arise. Maybe not every update or release. But the one time it will..... BOOM and as the IT department, you get burned. Being wreckless surely isn't the way to manage it. But maybe that's why Michael does that kind off work and you don't.

Riva said,
This is terrible for my OCD; I don't like any rows or columns missing tiles...

You can make them all uniform, if needed.

Riva said,
This is terrible for my OCD; I don't like any rows or columns missing tiles...

I don't think OCD is what you think it is.

Joshie said,
I don't think OCD is what you think it is.

Well I have to scroll my start screen top to bottom and back six times before I open an app.

I don't know what you're talking about.

deadonthefloor said,

Well I have to scroll my start screen top to bottom and back six times before I open an app.

I don't know what you're talking about.


If you're disagreeing with me, I'm confused.