It seems like Microsoft is going all guns With Metro UI.It all started with the Metro UI in Zune player,followed by the Windows Phones and then the upcoming Windows 8 Operating System.
Now its time for some Metro love for Microsoft’s email services.Recent leaks of the Hotmail services reveal the new look of Hotmail inspired by Metro UI,Reported earlier by WinFuture.de .
As we can see from the screenshots,the icons in the top represents the Metro feel for the services like Sky drive and calendar features.The site shows the screenshots in German language.There is no official word on when can we expect a global rollout for the Hotmail in Metro UI,but by the looks of it,it looks quite a refreshing one.We have to wait and watch for the official announcement from Microsoft about the rollout.
It’s raining leaks as far as the Windows 8 Release Candidate version goes.Over the past few weeks we saw a couple of leaks of Windows 8 RC suggesting some changes in the color options as well as revelation about new SKU’s like the Country Specific Windows 8 China SKU.
As reported earlier by Win8China,Microsoft is going to Metrofy the existing Ribbon UI in the Windows Explorer in the Release Candidate version of Windows 8 which is rumored to be released in the month of June.It was quite evident right from the release of the Windows 8 Developer Preview and then Consumer Preview that Microsoft is embracing the Metro UI with the new Start Screen and ditching the Start Menu from the previous versions of Windows operating system,though keeping a separate desktop mode for users who prefer the conventional Windows desktop.
These leaks if turns out to be true,would mean that somewhere in near future Microsoft will slowly modify the Ribbon UI in the Windows explorer to be more on the Metro Side.
One of the commenters of the blog asked a question about Device to Device Synchronization capability that will it be included with the integration of skydrive in windows 8.So to answer the question here’s what Mike Torres Skydrive Program Manager replied,
We won’t be offering a way to sync between PCs without using the cloud as we’ve found that it adds complexity. Both technical complexity as well as, more importantly, complexity in the overall user model. The SkyDrive model is really quite simple in that it’s “cloud-first” and not “cloud-optional” which means you no longer have to worry about the timing of various PCs being online to sync, or having files that are only available on PCs but not through SkyDrive.com or mobile devices. Conflicts are far less likely as well since the cloud is always “online”. The fetch feature addresses the need to “get back” to stuff that you haven’t put in SkyDrive yet. There are tradeoffs either way, we realize that, but we decided to focus on a simple model and really work to get that right.
So in the SkyDrive for windows 8 we won’t be able to do PC to PC synchronization from SkyDrive,only synchronization option available will be “device to SkyDrive” i.e PC to Skydrive.Even though the earlier service Windows Live Mesh has been integrated as a part of new skydrive services there won’t be PC to PC synchronizations from now on due to added complexity both technically and keeping in mind the user as well.
However The fetch feature will addresses the need to “get back” to stuff that you haven’t yet put in SkyDrive.But to simplify the overall process some trade offs had to be made.
One of the most important aspect of any operating system is the accessibility feature.In a recent post on the building Windows 8 blog Microsoft detailed the Windows 8 Accessibility Feature.
Windows 8 has been designed keeping in mind all sorts of users,be it a normal end user or a professional user or be it a user with some sorts of physical disability.So to help the users with disabilities like Visual,Mobility,Hearing and Cognitive Impairments accessing the Windows 9 Operating System.
The accessibility goals for Windows 8 are as follows:
Improve the assistive technologies that are components of Windows, and provide a good experience with the Metro style UI.
Provide developer tools that have baseline accessibility built in, so that accessible Metro style apps are available in the Store.
Engage assistive technology vendors (ATVs) to adopt Windows 8 and build upon the accessibility scenarios.
So to enhance the accessibility of Windows 8 to such users Microsoft has been gathering user feedbacks adding the improved assistive technology components in the upcoming operating system,these components include:
Narrator is Windows’ built-in screen reader that allows people with visual impairments to interact with their system and applications. User feedback on previous versions of Narrator has consistently been that it needs to respond faster, read more controls, and support more languages.
Magnifier is a tool in Windows to make text and graphics large enough to see for people with low vision. This was initially shipped in Windows 98, and was updated significantly in Windows 7 with the ability to magnify the full screen. This change received positive feedback. However, there were still issues with Magnifier, as it sometimes conflicted with settings for High Contrast colors.
Speech recognition initially shipped in Windows Vista to aid people with mobility impairments to navigate and use their PC. User feedback on this feature has been really positive, telling us that the accuracy in speech recognition is good, it transcribes your voice to text quickly, and it is able to handle some uncommon words.
On-screen keyboard has been available to those with mobility impairments since Windows XP.
Windows 8 Metro UI will also see a new and improved magnifier,so Whenever one starts the Magnifier on a tablet (in the Ease of Access panel, set Magnifier to start when you press the Windows logo key + Volume up), a notice a border will appear around the edges of the screen,making it easy to move the Magnifier around the screen using these borders. Simply drag your finger along the border to move Magnifier in that direction. When the border disappears, you are at the edge of the screen.
Internet Explorer 10 will be available in the Windows 8 operating system with two flavors,the Metro Based Internet Explorer 10 and the usual Desktop version of it.The Metro version will be optimized for the usage of HTML 5 based content optimizing the overall experience on the portable Windows 8 devices like the laptops and the tablets.
Microsoft is discouraging the usage of plugins for the fact that the plugin free experience for the devices which are powered by the batteries like laptops and tablets is highly optimized and energy efficient.
The Metro version of Internet Explorer 10 will not support the sites which requires users to install plugins in order to view the content on the sites,however they are not completely restricting the access for the users who intend to visit such sites on their devices.So whenever one enters a site with such plugin requirements,a prompt will show up asking the user that whether he wishes to continue with the Metro browser or want to switch to the desktop version of it.
So according to the usage and requirements of content,one can switch to and fro the Metro based and desktop version of Internet Explorer 10.
With the release of Windows 8 nearing Microsoft has also been busy to launch its next gen version of Office, codenamed Office 15, which is set to receive interface tweaks to make it more touch friendly on Windows 8, including a radial menu system, but won’t be rebuilt as full “Metro style” apps using the new WinRT programming model.
According to sources, who say that the core Office applications will be flatter, feature more white space, and use fewer lines in an effort to focus on content, but that the look will literally be window dressing — Office 15 apps will still be traditional Windows apps underneath. In addition to this, there is also news of the ARM version which will also be desktop applications, running in a restricted Windows 8 ARM desktop mode designed for power efficiency.
Microsoft’s design lead, Steve Kaneko, is upbeat about the improvements, saying people will be “really impressed” with Office 15.However, Microsoft’s choice for Office desktop apps in Windows 8 appears to be a matter of time constraints. One source indicated that plans to build a true Metro style Windows 8 version of Office have been pushed back as the Office team would have to overhaul the entire suite to take advantage of WinRT, adding time to the software development process.
Microsoft is also building at least two Metro style Windows 8 Office applications using WinRT. OneNote and Lync which will both be released as Metro style applications, presumably in the new Windows Store. The apps are less complex than their Word and Excel equivalents, perhaps easing their ports to Windows 8 Metro style and iOS — they’re already on the iPad, presumably to hook users onto associated Microsoft services like SkyDrive and Office 365. Microsoft announced its Office 15 Technical Preview this week, with a beta due in summer, and we expect to hear a lot more about the future of Office in the coming months.
Windows 8 beta release is right around the corner,so its now about time to explore some of the customization features which will be made available with the beta release.
Talking about some of the windows 8 features on TechRadar, director of communications Chris Flores detailed some of the custom features of the Metro UI of Windows 8 beta.The Background of the UI which is by default Green can be personalized with 8 new styles,with swirls and curlicues to lines and squares and a color picker, however you are not allowed to use any background image for the start screen.
The reason behind not allowing the custom background image is that as you go on adding more tiles in the screen,the image would not auto stretch and because of the designing of the tile interface you won’t be able to see the background at all.
Some other features coming to Windows 8 beta includes,the mouse swipe feature for those who don’t have a touch screen based PC or tablet,along with that there are features like Semantic Zoom,Switching apps using the mouse scroll,swiping the app down to kill the Metro App which is of no use.
Along with the Windows 8 beta we will see the release of the Windows Store as well with a flurry of free Metro Based apps for Windows 8.Watch this space for more Windows 8 Scoop.
Last year we saw a big acquisition with Microsoft capturing Skype for a hefty amount,Skype a popular VoIP Client for desktop computers has now been acquired by Microsoft.So it was only a matter of time for some latest development news for the Company’s own Operating Systems.We already know that Skype for Windows Phone is already in the works.
Now as spotted earlier by Long Zheng Skype is hiring C# and HTML 5 developers for its Metro App development for Windows 8 operating system.This is what the job posting read ,
“The Consumer Engineering team at Skype is looking for passionate, team-oriented and self-motivated developers to help us build Skype client software for new Windows 8 platform.”
The two separate listings are for C# and HTML 5 developers who will be working to develop the Skype client for the upcoming much hyped operating system.
Over the past few months we have seen a lot of things happening in the Indian mobile market with the official launch of the Windows Phones and Windows Phone Marketplace in india a couple of months ago,along with some second generation Windows Phone devices like HTC Radar,Samsung Omnia W as well as the first Windows Phone from Nokia the Lumia 800 and 710 launch.
Along with the new devices in the market we also saw the launch of some local newspaper apps like Times Of India app or the eSakal app (First Marathi News Paper app),so it was only a matter of time for the indian local news channels to join in with the Print media apps to the Windows Phone Marketplace.
The latest Entrant in the list of local Windows Phone apps is the IBN LIVE app for Windows Phone published by Network 18.CNN-IBN is a highly popular TV News Channel in india with a high percentage of viewership in india.
IBN Live App Features:
- Discover and read the latest and top news
- Read the story, watch the video and view the photos – all on the same screen
- Save news stories to read at your convenience
- View the latest news clips on video
- Watch all the shows, including Face The Nation, Devil’s Advocate, The Week That Wasn’t and more
- View photogalleries
- Get live cricket scores
- Post links on your Facebook wall or mail them to your Facebook friends
- Tweet links to your followers' timelines
So you can now have the latest news from India and other worldwide news on your Windows Phone along with the features like Video,saving story,getting live cricket updates on the go or post the news link on your social networking profiles like Twitter and Facebook.
Though there are some glitches browsing the app with the Panorama mode interface,we can expect fixes with the future update.With this app launch we can also expect the other TV News channels to join in with the new platform soon.The app is available for Free over the Windows Phone Marketplace.
There’s no stopping the Leaks of Windows 8 Pre Beta build,every now and then we are getting new screenshots of new windows 8 builds,last week we saw the leaks of Music beta app for windows 8 store and some of the windows 8 store screenshots as well.
The leaks of the latest pre beta build continues as we inch closer to the final Windows 8 beta build release.According to Winunleaked.tk Microsoft is signing off Windows 8 Beta build this month and the latest screenshots are apparently from the newest build which was compiled yesterday.
The first screenshot below shows what is supposed to be the Installer screen for Windows 8 beta.
The Second Screenshot shows up new themes (AeroLite theme with new caption buttons as well as the Metro Buttons)
The Third Screenshot shows up Start Screen with new background,it also features some of the new Metro Apps like the Music app,Photo app,Reader app etc.
Windows 8 beta is slated for release in the month of February along with the launch of the Windows 8 Store,but if this report is to be believed and if windows 8 beta build is already getting completed by the end of this month,it puts an early release of Windows 8 beta on the cards.