Windows 8: Introducing Windows 8's tablet interface, Metro

Over the last two years, the world has watched as tablets have become one of the hottest selling devices of the century; an entire computer in the palm of your hands without the chunkiness of a laptop.

As it appears that Microsoft has sat back for the past two years without as much as hint of them entering the tablet game, you would be wrong. Microsoft has been very hard at work to take the next giant leap forward in offering tablet users a unique experience, as well as offering users a desktop experience like they would on their home computers.

Microsoft has taken the speed of a tablet interface and the power of a full desktop operating system and merge the two.

Not only was Microsoft looking to create the successor to their most popular operating system, Windows 7, but to take on Apple in the tablet market, which is currently the king of the hill by a large margin.

Enter Windows 8:

Microsoft has unveiled their latest major project, Windows 8. Not only will Windows 8 be a big upgrade to Windows 7, but it will also run on tablets with a lightweight and easy to use interface, similar to that of Windows Phone OS 7.

Microsoft promises to really deliver with Windows 8 by keeping the system requirements low for older systems, but also be a performance horse for even the highest end users.

Metro:

Metro is Microsoft’s name for the new interface of Windows 8 tablets. The tile based operating system will run on top of Windows 8 full desktop experience, but allow for users to switch back and forth between the two, allowing for maximum productivity without the need for multiple devices.

If users are familiar with Windows Phone 7, they’ll fit right in with the horizontal scrolling tile operating system. While the interface is almost finalized, the apps are not. Microsoft is only just unveiling their brand new operating system to developers so they can begin creating amazing apps.

Metro’s interface allows for ultimate customization, including the lock screen, the tile layout, and even how you group your pages and apps.

As Metro will only be successful with great developers the preview comes with a number of test games to demonstrate how well Windows 8 handles.

HTML5:

Metro applications are powered by HTML5/CSS3, JavaScript, C, C#, C++, VB, XAML for x86, x64 and ARM.

Windows 8 developers will be easy to find with a wide variety of programming languages available for their platform. Microsoft is also offering an easy transition tool for Silverlight developers to port their applications over.

As users will experience with the Metro UI, each tile can contain another set of tiles, perhaps pictures, RSS feeds, video demos and much more.

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24 Comments

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alexander3133 said,
The question is, how to enable this Metro UI when Win8 is available to us later?

What??? It's the default UI.

To the article author: the Metro interface does NOT run on "top of the... desktop experience", it IS the native OS interface, not just a layer.

efjay said,
To the article author: the Metro interface does NOT run on "top of the... desktop experience", it IS the native OS interface, not just a layer.

THIS! The new UI runs on top of WinRT, which itself is running on top of the kernel as the "traditional" APIs (Win32, .NET)…

BTW: their graphic is obviously not entirely true as C#-WinRT-Programs are sure as hell running on top of a CIL-VM

MFH said,

THIS! The new UI runs on top of WinRT, which itself is running on top of the kernel as the "traditional" APIs (Win32, .NET)…

This sounded confusing, given that .NET runs on top of Win32.

remixedcat said,
awesome for tablet... iffy for desktop. is all I have to say.

True, but I think the regular UI is intended for desktops.

I honestly can't see myself using this on a desktop or notebook. It works touch screen devices, but why they're making this the default on every device is beyond me. Those over-sized buttons and squares serve absolutely no purpose on a device operated by keyboard and mouse.

Ricky65 said,
I feel sorry for Silverlight developers.

Why now the Silverlight APIs are available built into Windows 8?

Ricky65 said,
I feel sorry for Silverlight developers.

did you watch... the keynote? you are idiot for comenting something like this when they even asked if there were people using silverlight and how silvelight can be used for apps, and HOW with a little change of code it can even be used in Windows Phone.

you feel sorry for what then? oh yeah for not knowing anything about it. because Silverlight its XAML if you dont know that... oh god.

Ricky65 said,
I feel sorry for Silverlight developers.

Silverlight is in a very good position. I think the reason MS hasn't talked much about it yet, could be that they're still fleshing out the new public API's for Silverlight's interfacing with Windows 8. Because it'd be a perfect match, especially now that MS has confirmed that you can build Metro UI's with XAML, and SL has a lot to do with that.

James812 said,
Will be getting a Windows 8 Tablet when they come out. Just not sure if it will be X86 or ARM.

We'll have to see how things go. I'm betting it will be obvious by the time we get to the RC stage.

Byron_Hinson said,
Looks promising - though I'm not a fan of the Metro interface myself, it does at least look colourful
I agree, it does look promising and I'm most excited about the "same" OS being on multiple devices. This really has a chance in a highly controlled enterprise environment.

Byron_Hinson said,
Looks promising - though I'm not a fan of the Metro interface myself, it does at least look colourful

Yeah I think that after a trial one can get used or even like it, nice to finally have the option of a windows based tablet, now the real battle will begin to see which OS can deliver better performance on a tablet.

Meconio said,

now the real battle will begin to see which OS can deliver better performance on a tablet.

The hardware used for tablets is leapfrogging exponentially this year, so I actually don't think that will be the major difference. Battery life compared to performance maybe. 8)

The iToy has an advantage in that it uses outdated iPhone Touch parts and fills the rest of the space with batteries. That's why the low end version seems cheap (and lasts long) when compared to anything that uses any state of the art technology.

I own an iPad and I'm really looking forward to that new Samsung windows model. It'll be nice to run real applications for a change. 8)