Windows has modern theme tools which consist of 2 color choices and a background. Windows Phone lets users pick one color and either black or white. Users can also choose to have their tiles be transparent with a picture behind them. The differences become apparent when using different parts of the operating systems. Windows Phone tends to have a lot of black or white with the occasional color accent. Windows has the primary color choice as the major fill and the secondary color choice as the accent.
Windows Phone core apps follow a simple black/white background with the accent coloring some text. Windows takes a different approach to app design. Every app in Windows has its own design. For example, the mail app uses blue and white, people uses orange and white/grey, calendar is purple and white. This is very different from the people, email, and calendar apps on Windows Phone which all have a solid black/white background with the accent color scattered throughout the app sparingly.
The difference between these two design choices is not only ascetics. How a user chooses to customize their phone or tablet may have an effect on battery life. Since battery life on phones is so crucial, having a solid black background makes sense to save on battery from screen power. Microsoft even warns users who choose a white background that some displays are not made to be power efficient when running the white.
What do you prefer? Would you like to see Windows 10 adopt the Windows Phone single color and black or white, or continue with Windows two color and a pattern choice?
When I comes to apps, Windows and Windows Phone differ dramatically. Windows goes for a simple and obvious route of each app is separate, has a specific function, and unique design. Windows Phone has a different approach with their core apps. Email isn’t one app by default; instead Microsoft has broken different email account into their own ‘separate’ but identical apps each with their own email account. Users can combine their inboxes to a single inbox to make checking and managing email easier. Windows 8.1’s mail app keeps all the email accounts together but users have to switch between accounts to see different inboxes and folders.
Microsoft also has created two versions of most apps; one for Windows and one for Windows Phone. While the similar apps share a name the usually diverge on function. For example the alarms app in Windows Phone only does alarms, but in Windows the alarm app can do alarms, timers, and stopwatches. It would seem Microsoft should just release their Windows app for Windows Phone for a range of core apps like, calculator, sound recorder, photos, settings, scan, and maybe the store too.
Windows Phone does have a couple of apps which would be nice on Windows and we are seeing some of them come to the Tech Preview like battery sense, data sense, and storage sense. It would be nice to see apps like podcasts, FM radio, Cortana (rumored to be coming), messaging, and phone. Microsoft seems to be unifying their apps like MSN, and Xbox, but other core experience apps lack any unification like calling, or messaging. Skype could step in to be the bridge between the two platforms, although this is seeming like a pipe dream for Microsoft fans.
What apps do you want to see span the two platforms? Do you miss a specific phone app on your tablet or vise-versa?
Ultimately, there will be compromise between the two platforms. The only way to make users happy will be to offer choice. Windows 8 serves as a gleaming example of what happens when Microsoft makes big UI decisions for their customers. Windows 10 needs to be an operating system full of choice where users can choose to personalize their phones or computers however they wish. Microsoft has control over what the defaults are, but from there users need to have the ability to make changes.Further reading: Microsoft, Windows, Windows 10, Windows Phone