Big changes are coming to Windows 8. While not called a service pack, the 8.1 release will fix a number of issues people have raised. One of the biggest changes is to the number of metro apps that can be run simultaneously. In Windows 8, apps are designed to run full screen, the only other option is to snap a second app to the side of the screen.
If you run Windows 8.1 on a high resolution display (no word on just how high) then you’ll have plenty more options for arranging apps. First of all the 320 pixel snapped mode usually works out to around an 80/20 split. That split in Windows 8.1 will also add 60/40 and 50/50 splits. This makes running multiple metro apps together much more useful. The question is, how much work from developers is it going to take to support these extra modes.
That’s not the only change in 8.1, actually there’s a significant list, let’s have a look at some key ones.
Dynamic Lock screen
The revamped lock screen will now be a photo wall updated with images across your life. This will mean your lock screen becomes more personal, more dynamic, but with photos from your phone on the list of sources, let’s hope the control over what gets displayed and what doesn’t is there.
Whoever came up with Winkey+Q as the search shortcut should be fired. In Windows 8.1, this will change to the more intuitive Winkey+S, the way it should have been from the start. Gone will be the 3 different modes of search which frankly was annoying, instead replaced with a single search with filters that also includes results from Bing. This is a very significant change and should make finding apps, documents, settings, web results, or anything much much easier.
New tile sizes
Larger and smaller tile sizes will be supported in 8.1 and once again the question of how much work for developers is raised. If it’s like Windows Phone, apps will need an update to support the new sizes. The largest tile is neat for surfacing detailed information (the whole goal of live tiles) like in the case of the Calendar, but would need to be used sparingly.
The small tiles borrowed from Windows Phone, will likely be a more important introduction. There’s plenty of sometimes apps that we use that would fit perfectly into this size. There and available, but not taking up much space. You can fit 4 of these in the same space you currently fit 1 tile.
The user customisations in terms of themes in Windows 8.1 will be significantly enhanced. More colours, animated designs and also the best option, using the desktop wallpaper as your start screen background. Personally I think this is the best thing Microsoft can do to make the 2 headed monster feel like a single experience. Moving between the metro UI and the desktop looks like a much more integrated experience.
Yes that start button is added back to the desktop start bar. Thanks for that, we just lost 1 icon’s space. Let’s be very clear, the start menu is dead, this is just an icon because apparently you found dragging your mouse to the bottom left-hand corner of the screen was too difficult.
For a walk through, check out the video below.
More information @ Blogging Windows