Microsoft Should Bring Live Tiles to the Windows 10 Desktop - Kogonuso


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Jul 10, 2018

Microsoft Should Bring Live Tiles to the Windows 10 Desktop

Why not pushing live tiles beyond the Start menu?
By Bogdan Popa

Live tiles have always been one of Windows Phone users’ favorite features, expanding beyond the mobile ecosystem with the release of Windows 8.1 and then landing in the Start menu with Windows 10.

Originally launched on phones, live tiles have quickly gained fans, not only because they look good, but also thanks to their purpose. This little feature was supposed to serve as an evolved version of an app’s icon, showing dynamic information like notifications and even previews of what’s stored within the app.

Needless to say, live tiles have improved with every new Windows iteration, and while Windows 10 Mobile is now in the process of being retired, they would continue to be available as part of Windows 10.

But while live tiles are indeed a helpful feature that many Windows 10 users stick to in the Start menu, I feel that Microsoft doesn’t reach their full potential. By restricting them to the Start menu only, Microsoft reduces their visibility, eventually limiting their purpose.
Windows 8.1 live tiles

The easiest way to deal with this is to bring live tiles right to the desktop. The idea isn’t completely new, but it makes more sense now that Microsoft is working to give Windows 10 a more modern touch with the debut of Fluent Design.

Let’s go back to Windows 7 to see how this would work. Windows 7 users can customize their desktop with the help of gadgets, which are also little tools supposed to show the weather forecast or system information, serve as app launchers, or display the time. While the functionality of gadgets was clearly more limited as compared to live tiles, they could also refresh automatically to display information in nearly real-time.

The weather gadget, for instance, could be configured to a specific location and then its icon set was changed based on the forecast. The weather conditions were updated automatically with a set of user-defined parameters.

The weather live tile could work basically the same, providing even more advanced information to the user right on the desktop. All with zero interaction, but at the same time offering a quick way to launch the Weather app and see more details on the forecast.

Basically, by bringing live tiles to the desktop Microsoft can help adoption of its Microsoft Store apps, which at this point, aren’t exactly widely-used on PCs for a reason that’s pretty easy to determine.
Windows 10 live tiles in the Start menu

Live tiles on the desktop is also the subject of a very popular feature request posted in the Feedback Hub. Currently with over 2,500 votes, this suggestion hasn’t received an official response from Microsoft, but the company is without a doubt aware of it.

One of the users who posted in the Feedback Hub has an opinion similar to mine, suggesting that live tiles behaving more like widgets would be the correct approach.

“Live tiles on a hidden start menu doesn't make any sense; Live tiles on a full screen start on a touch device does. Windows 7 had it right. Bring back the windows 7 start but allow pinning tiles to the desktop in place of where gadgets were,” user Craig M posted several months ago.

Without an official statement on this feature request, it’s nearly impossible to tell whether Microsoft is at least considering bringing such an improvement to Windows 10 anytime soon. One thing is clear, though: the upcoming Windows 10 Redstone 5 update, which is scheduled to land in the fall, won’t embrace such a dramatic change.

The soonest we may get live tiles on the desktop is Redstone 6, which is the next-next Windows 10 update due in the spring of 2019. Make sure you express your vote in the Feedback Hub to increase the likelihood of this happening.

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