One of the cooler features introduced in Windows 8 was the ability to view app or website information directly on the Start Screen’s Live Tiles without the need to open an app or site. The feature provides a convenient way to view basic information quickly, whether it’s the number of emails in your inbox or the latest headlines from your favorite news site and has gradually evolved since its launch in late 2012.
Windows 10 will see a further refining of Live Tiles on PC, even though the Start Screen’s presence on the OS itself has been reduced compared to its central focus in Windows 8 and 8.1. At Build 2015, a few hints were given as to the future of Live Tiles with mentions of Windows 10 Live Tiles being able to adapt to different screen sizes and resize the content within them as well as special custom templates, previously only available for first-party Microsoft apps, being opened up for public use in July.
A feature that’s been mentioned in the past is interactive tiles which would allow users to, well, interact with the tiles without opening them. Potential uses could be the ability to reply to an email from within the tile or perhaps the ability to scroll through a website’s news feed on the tile’s surface. An exact release for interactive Live Tiles hasn’t been announced yet but there is now brief confirmation that “Interactive Tiles on Start are being worked on” in a new session for Build 2015 with more information potentially coming during the next few days:
Live Tiles continue to be a presence on most of Microsoft’s platforms with each iteration experimenting with slightly different takes on the concept. Microsoft was originally planning 3D Flyout Tiles for Windows Phone 8.1 for example and the current Microsoft Band is using a version of Live Tiles that’s significantly different than the Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 versions due to its significantly smaller form factor.
A platform that’s long overdue for some Live Tile integration is the Xbox One which currently features completely static tiles for games and apps and no tile size options to choose from at all when pinning them to your Xbox One dashboard. Bringing Live Tile functionality to Xbox One would revitalize the entire Xbox One experience. Imagine the possibilities. An Xbox Fitness Live Tile could display workout history and friends’ activity, a Forza Live Tile could show leader boards and notifications about new DLC and even a Just Dance 2015 Live Tile could alert gamers to challenges from friends and their online ranking status.
With Windows 10 coming to Xbox One in the coming months, the potential for Live Tiles to make their way to the console is greater than ever though nothing official has been announced one way or the other. There is of course the new Xbox app for Windows 10 on PC which has its own Live Tile that displays user information but that’s still a separate experience from the console itself.
What are your thoughts on Live Tiles and how would you like to see them used in the future? Share your thoughts with the community in the comments below.Further reading: Build 2015, Live Tiles, Microsoft, Microsoft Band, Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 10, Windows Phone 8.1, Xbox One