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Windows Phone 8.1 may get backgrounds on the Start screen, three column support

More information from the Windows Phone 8.1 beta SDK leak hint at some forthcoming features for the OS update, due to be announced in April. The info comes from LiveSino, who found references to numerous unannounced references to features in the SDK, hinting that such customizations may be in the final build for customers.

The idea of giving customers more options to customize their Windows Phone has been a hot topic for customers for years. Currently on the Start screen, users are only allowed to select from a pre-selected range of hues, with no backgrounds, leading some to call the OS ‘boring’.

Now, LiveSino has found the following references in the SDK:

  • Start screen background setting (Start background), the user can select the picture
  • Start screen to open three columns (Show more Tiles), similar to the Lumia Icon, Lumia 1320, Lumia 1520

The Start screen background feature, also reported by the Verge, should make many users happy.

How will it look?

However, Windows Phone Central can confirm that so far, Microsoft has not settled on the look of this new feature. Indeed, there appear to be different builds of the OS floating around Redmond that do this customization in different ways. That may sound oddly vague, but if you look at the Start screen, you could probably think of a couple of ways where a user can display an image over their display and what options users have to control it.

Skinning the background and leaving the Tiles a solid color is but one approach, but there are others.

The toggle to ‘Show more tiles’ is also interesting, since previously Microsoft stated that devices with a display less than 5 inches won’t have this feature. Indeed, on the Lumia Icon, things do get small. However, Microsoft may decide to leave it to the customer in the end, when 8.1 lands.

Regardless, it’s clear that Microsoft is listening to users and 8.1 should provide a robust update.

Source: LiveSino, the Verge



There are 340 comments. Sign in to comment

afnan_mc says:

OMG. This looks awesome. :D

sepatown says:

The mock-up shown does indeed look good. But we don't know what the final design will look like.

sholokov says:

I wonder if the background will move up and down with the tiles or the tiles will act like they were transparent and the background will stay stationary when you scroll.

specmania says:

That would be super awesome

2tomtom says:

That would be truly awesome indeed. Never thought of the background as something important, but seeing the pic I want it now......and if it scroll's too, wow!

Dexterrino says:

i hope they can add a minor feature that can blur the chosen background photo.

superb and innovative....

dhruv07 says:

Man I wanted to hear dat nd wish dis is really dere when update is out

GunplaGamer says:

Either or, this will be awesome!!! :D I want this so bad! :D

abarzabar says:

This is exactly what I've wanted

afnan_mc says:

One can only hope. ^_~

user4545 says:

I think the mockup looks awful, Windows Phone Vista or something.

tapehead says:

Agreed, but the idea has potential.

QilleRz says:

Omg omg omg. Really can't wait for this one ! Actually didn't even finished reading article yet and coming here to comment this !

Edit : finished reading :p Yes indeed, Microsoft should give their consumer more choices in customization. Speaking of 3 row of medium live tile can be switched enable or disable is a great idea.

ryraansh says:

The header image is not a mockup. You can make it using Skiney Themes. The backgrounds in 8.1 will probably look like this: 

Just what I was going to say. (Skinery, btw)

guillams says:

That concept is much better than the one showed in here! :D

NIST says:

Bring back Aero for the tiles and give me backgrounds!! Dammit!

I'm suspecting/hoping for animated background & lock screen images with translucent (aero) tile.
That would be awesome.

Armin Mhd says:

How is it possible to put a photo over tiles when you have a long screen that goes down? What happens after the pic is over? They return to the accent color?:/ maybe not such a good idea cuz it would look ugly if you scroll down.

Sarang68 says:

As replied to if you scroll down it may repeat the same pic

iAdrian23 says:

How old are you?

The picture set will not be scrolled.


Armin Mhd says:

What? Im 19 and i dont get why you are askin this and maybe you need work on your understanding bro. So your home screen doesnt scroll down? Lol then u arent using windowsphone haha :)

Rishicash says:

As long as he's old enough to buy me a beer he's old enough.

Bloobed says:

On Sailfish, the background slowly fades to the accent color (which is automatically generated based on the background), that might work if you want the picture to stay stationary, it would still have to be a relatively tall picture.

TechBizJP says:

I think he's old enough to be in WP Central. :)

For you question. IMO, the icons would be transparent and the logo, or maybe (Please let it be) the text would only be seen. and the background picture will be, lets say at the back of the squared(borderlined icons).

trmnrs says:

Maybe the picture won't scroll at the same speed as the Start screen. They would probably time the scrolling depending on how much is on your Start screen in the first place, kind of like how the Photos hub background photo scrolls at a certain speed and not in unison with the content.

i think if only the tiles will scroll nd not the picture than that would be good enough...

jdandison says:

I'd suspect it'll be closer to Windows 8.1: background with accent tiles on top. For starters, they're merging WP and RT, and it would be a consistent experience, plus images could screw up the functionality of the tiles (e.g., can't read the tile info because of BG image).

DaveGx says:

The new IE 11 features are awesome. This update is huge. April can't come fast enough

scdkad says:

That looks ugly.

vdubskey says:

I highly doubt that's the way it will look. That picture is most likely don't with the Skinery app. It will most likely look just as it does on Windows 8/RT. Static Background image slightly darkened so tiles have more contrast. The above image just looks horrid IMO.

purefire says:

I agree.. i asked for this idea when i had my 900..  it better be real.. or .......... ill be really upset

Hope my Lumia 820 can fit more tile.. :')

rockstarzzz says:

Size does matter ;)

Aashish13 says:

Will be awesome. depends upon your background u choose. But is it true or a rumour?

rockstarzzz says:

True. Tom Warren from Verge and Daniel from WPC. WP news cant be more true unless Microsoft was to report it.

NIST says:

I may get my WP Theme Pack wish after all!!

rockstarzzz says:

So will be the extra 6-7% Apple's market shares this year ;)

The_Lord23 says:

We can but hope xD

cesar ruiz1 says:

Lets hope so unless apple gets intelligent and has 3 iPhones 4 inch 4.7 inch and 5.5 inch and price the 4 inch cheap. But apple has there heads too far up there A$$ to give a cheap iPhone so yeah well probably be on par on market share by 2015.

rockstarzzz says:

2016 WP is supposed to be 2nd largest OS, so we are on track ;)

PJ Suresh says:

2016? Ya very closer 2nd if you are also considering forked android shares :P

rockstarzzz says:

Android will be a distant first for years to come. Make it nearly a decade unless Google screws up. Android is to mobile phones what Windows is to desktop PCs.

lubbalots says:

Remember, blind loyalty. They don't need to price their products cheap. Blind loyalty will pay for at any price other than cheap.

4look4rd says:

Are you kidding? Apple DOMINATES the premium market, this is what they do best and for this reason Apple doesn't give a crap about market share. We are going to have a phone market that is very similar to the PC market, Apple will have 5-10% Worldwide marketshare but 60% of the industry profits. 

Fritzly says:

Indeed, Apple business model is very different than the one MS and Google have.

Aashish13 says:

All have different markets. MS is a one of the best companies ever targeted the corporate market. We compare regularly all 3 companies but sometimes that their target markets are sometimes different. Apple- premium market/ status
Google- Entertainment etc like google search, utube
Microsoft- Business, corporate world etc

sunnybyday says:

Second that. There is a reason why every single developer worth its name develops apps for iOS first - NObody cares about Android marketshare since overwhelming majority of them are low end devices

rockstarzzz says:

We aren't talking about how much money Apple makes here. Of course it makes more money for its over priced gadgets that fraction of society can afford to pay for and use. We are talking about marketshares - the reach of your product. Apple's product won't ever reach more than 50% of world population. So yeah, premium like you say. So what? There are phones made of gold and diamonds - they make profit by selling fraction of what Apple sells. What is the point?

PJ Suresh says:

Exactly what I think... That .1 is going to bring a huge difference in WP market share...

LumiaWorld says:

Agreed! The best update ever!!!

enigmas006 says:

Would be nice to have 3 columns on my HTC 8x, not holding my breath, though.

Flubby2 says:

Makes sense, what with the desktop background in the Modern UI of Windows 8.1.

Fiddle N says:

I think all Lumias should get the choice, but smaller Lumias should keep with the 2 column layout as a default for sure. I couldn't imagine 3 columns of tiles on my Lumia 620 haha

Toxid_Fox says: reported that all lumias down to 920 would get the option but i think it stops there because of screen sizes :)

Jf.Vigor says:

actually they say that smaller phones "default" with less tiles. Doesn't mean that you cant go in and then chage it

noirsoft says:

It might be based on resolution. I would think that on 800x480 screens, three columns could leave text unreadable for medium tiles.

S Vaibhav says:

3 columns on my 620, with a 3.8 inches screen will look crazy :P

nah! with 2 columns is ok! :D

iinnnnit says:

Just stop using mini tiles

gdsaar says:

Daniel I thought in a previous article and on reddit that you had suggested that you know what Microsoft is/not doing wrt to backgrounds for 8.1. With how much certainty should I rely on this latest article?

rockstarzzz says:

Also in forums Daniel reject Tom's claims. I guess he didn't have solid sources to confirm this. Maybe now he has confirmed the same?

Nah, re-read that forum. There's more to this than what has been reported by the Verge or ourselves i.e. there is still more to this feature not yet revealed. Put the pieces together in Tom's report and mine and you'll start to get it.

rockstarzzz says:

I have got it Dan ;)
It wasn't hard to figure out when you quickly posted in forums :P

Dk92 says:

Maybe he was trying to keep it a secret until build. Tom blew his cover :-P

It's also protecting sources/info. Different people on the dev teams have different features on their device. Could be easy to finger someone if a full leak revealed everything.

rockstarzzz says:

I think its clever to have different features sent to different people. However, there wont be more than 5 builds floating about. The one you have is surely a tricky one :P

NIST says:

Rodneyej is rather easy to "finger". He prefers a good fingering now and then.

Corvodin says:

I think that having an image as a skin over the tiles is the best solution. If it were "behind" the tils, it would be barely visible. And those that want an image could finally shut the hell up.

OMG55 says:

Its party of the reason some people are hesitant to switch due to lack of customizations and apps; this would go a long way towards getting people interested. Microsoft was also the first to introduce aero and gif wallpapers in win 7 so why would they let there competitors use it and they don't at least match it on their own platform. There more user out there than boring corporate users

Corvodin says:

I'm fine with having something like the office 2013 themes in the background, they look very elegant and don't draw too much attention. I'm all for options, I didn't say it shouldn't be included, I just stated that including it would finally shut up all the ones that were yamming about it. 

Coolaaron88 says:

Thanks for the article Daniel! Just a little typo


"....things to get small."

Should be

"....things do get small."

Thanks. Fixed. Pre-coffee article ;)

ejlee072006 says:

My 1520 will appreciate this update.. 8.1 is really growing on me

astroXP says:

Skinning tiles? Ugh. I, for one, opt for the background on the, uh, background? You would still see it when switching to the app list! Duh

bitfarm says:

Yeah. Make a switch and let users decide. :P Asking for too much from MS!

elderjlward says:

@Daniel Hint, hint? ;-)

Very much. I worded the article specifically ;)

Not sure if I would use that feature but if it helps sell more windows phones then AWESOME!!!!

mpt15 says:

I want a WP 8.1 as soon as possible. Can't wait to get rid of my WP 7.8 :-D

WP7.8 will not be updated!

The_Lord23 says:

He means he wants to get a WP 8.1 device.

MrunanI_I says:

Same here, stuck with my 710. (I) Hope a perfect budget phone with 1GB ram launches with WP8.1

The most budget phone right now with 1GB ram and can be upgraded to 8.1 is L525

MrunanI_I says:

(I said perfect) 525: No flash, No glance, No front cam, No dolby... I want a phone ≥ 62x

Ddriver66 says:

I will stay happy with the 3 rows. I think its good to let the user join if will be able or not. Greets Ddriver66.

Sarang68 says:

So glad i chose 1520 as my future ready device! I am going mad right now!

Kascha K says:

Right there with you!

In my opinion, backgrounds wouldn't fit well with Windows Phone, they don't make sense in such a small and densely packed screen.

rockstarzzz says:

You have no idea what people are into! ;)

DJCBS says:

"densely packed" depends on the way you organize your screen. Just because some of us have the start screen filles with tiles, it doesn't mean others do too. Actually, I've seen a girl with only 8 small tiles in her start screen because she said she didn't needed more. So a background would help people like her get a nicer result out of their screens.

rockstarzzz says:

Also a tutorial in using live tiles will help her to know that WP has more than iOS like icons to it. She has no idea what she is missing out on!

DJCBS says:

I gave her a tutorial. She still didn't want more tiles. She isn't a poweruser at all so all she placed on the start screen was the People hub, sms, mail, phone, facebook, Instagram, What's app and Google.

She didn't even want IE or the store as icons. Go figure.
(She had a Samsung Android it may be related to that)

rockstarzzz says:

So how come beautiful Facebook live tile vs ugly Facebook logo is prefered by a non-power user? I thought power users were the ones who wants everything they can do with anything that has a motherboard available! This may explain if a power user has tons of icons size tiles and no double wide live tile for Facebook. Even Android has full screen widgets, no?

She would love the Normandy.

DJCBS says:

I honestly don't understand any of her choices. I guess she wasn't into the idea of the live tiles. She's probably so used to the Android-way of stuff (notification centre etc) that she didn't wanted that of a radical change. I would also assume people who don't use the phone for much would prefer the wider tiles but apparently not...


Maybe. I'll have to see the Normandy first before recommending her any switch for something more in the line of what she's used to. But I think she's satisfied with WP. She doesn't really take full advantage of it but hey...she's not complaining (she is waiting for the notification centre though).

iinnnnit says:

I think two start screen is necessary for people love to put big wide live tiles,Microsoft should make it an option to have two start screen

The Prayer says:

Are you actually excited with the upcoming update, DJCBS? I don't mean it in a bad way, I'm just interested in your opinion, since you had been one of the most critical persons about WP and MS that I had ever seen.

DJCBS says:

Yes. Assuming all these leaks will end up in 8.1, yes. It's improving the OS quite a lot and I'm happy with that. The prospect is good.

I'm very eager to get the developer preview and toy around with 8.1 to see if my current feelings on WP change. Because they have been sinking for a while now (and MS is to blame for that. They should definitely take their own platform more seriously).

(That doesn't mean I will ever buy a MS-produced phone though. Just to make it clear ;P)

rockstarzzz says:

Dude, if MS impresses you with this update, no matter how badly The Verge or CNET bashes the update, I'll see it as a success for MS :P

The Prayer says:

Lol fair enough, friend. I bet your feelings will change based on the magnitude of this update. Good to hear man, I hope that we all enjoy it. I also bet that WPCentral will be busy writing tons of how to articles, even months after the update releases.

OMG55 says:

My son only has the tiles you mentioned that girl has; he's more simplistic too

elderjlward says:

Agreed...the way tiles are arranged can create - gaps and spaces- to help show off more of a background image that is on the background and not the tiles.

Mark Richey says:

Allowing the same image between the Desktop and Start Screen on windows 8.1 made all the difference in the world. I always understood what the Metro screen was supposed to be in he way of a customizable substitution for the Start menu, but losing that jarring change from a color or stock drawing on the Start Screen to the Desktop made a difference. I could see the same happening here if the same image is allowed to seem to flow into the All Apps screen in the phone. Would make sense with a grid, but I am not sure I want the icons on the apps screen to be a grid. Choices choices.

Dk92 says:

It would help if the Windows Phone devs made the tiles of all 3 sizes smaller and slightly more spaced from each other.

iinnnnit says:

God no!it would be terrible if Microsoft doing so!I want slightly less space between tile to tiles and make the 2 columns tiles on my Lumia 925 a little bigger

Montpbm says:

Who is this guy!?

procen says:

Looks nice to me too!

OMG55 says:

That looks nice, all Microsoft needs to do is let the tiles themselves go into an aero mode with more traditional icon mode with the the icons floating on your background image. All phones shipped to carriers should be in this mode I've described so as to give off a more sophisticated android look since salespeople aren't familiarizing themselves with the OS and cannot or will not educate potential buys on wp8, Microsoft should do whatever it can even if it involves trickery.

Ronnet says:

I compleetly disagree. You're basically saying Microsoft needs to copy Android 100%. It's actually Android and iOS that are looking more and more like WP. I definatly DONT think Android looks sophisticated. It looks like a bad 90's vision of the future.

I also dont think Android is outselling WP because of its appearance. Consumers dont have anything against live tiles although the OS could use more customization. The main problem is that the small selection of Windows Phones is being overshadowed by Androids. Even if WP looked like Android the way the interface functions would mean salespeople still wouldnt understand it. It's a matter of sticking with it. WP is getting more and more marketshare and more importantly mindshare as well.

As for the customization, check this out:

OMG55 says:

I didn't mean mimic Android, I simply meant give users an optional mode that makes the tiles background disappear leaving only the icons spaced out perfectly but remaining animated by flipping ever so often with your wallpaper being seen more. The user would rely on the notification center, ghost messages, or lock screen while in this node as opposed to live tile with info displayed.

Ronnet says:

I understood that it was an optional mode. However this mode is basically a different UI that works like Android. You said so yourself, in this mode users rely on a notification centre and the interface has icons instead of tiles.

This doesn't seem like the right direction to me. It also doesnt need to do this just to enjoy a wallpaper. As seen in the video, the wallpaper would be visible enough in modern UI. Lastly it seems rather impossible to just turn off the tile. Technically it might be impossible but also many tiles dont have an icon. These devs have fully embraced WP and make full use of the tile's space.

krox1105 says:

A different approach may turn out better, but I would better prefer accents like the desktop in W8.1.
Possible live ones.

Where is the time machine?

nizzon says:

In the apple appstore?

WhyFiNYC says:

I like it. Of course, a lot of people couldn't pick out a suitable image to save their lives, but the option is good. 

ProFilmLA says:

This would be epic! More aesthetic options would certainly appeal to many. If you think could be really cool. Windows8 start screen being a perfect example. I realize some don't care about these things. My view is as long as it doesn't affect functionality or usability negatively...

Xaphoon148 says:

Like some other OS which name should not be mentioned...
But, really happy with this options, as long as it doesn't get messy like the above not mentioned OS.

OMG55 says:

All WP would be lacking is the option for Aero tile theme and of course the apps the people cry about all the time. 100k is good enough for me

rockstarzzz says:

185k and maybe 200k by April or May? Plus what's aero tiles?

Edit: 225k by April or May knowing that 200k was passed in December 2013?

toph36 says:

There was a PCWORLD article, but I didn't want to paste that one on this site. I read on this site as well for sure, but could easily find the article. I am right, so who cares.

OMG55 says:

Tiles that are transparent in appearance without a square, circle or rounded square backdrop so to speak. Icons floating above a wallpaper

Thank so much microsoft I was sad thinking I would never get three column support on my 925 now I am yay love microsoft!

Sarang68 says:

How about the Bing daily wallpaper as an active background?

rockstarzzz says:

I am sure its in the pipeline. Bing is ready for the prime time - search, images, Cortana. Bing is more than search. A clever way to introduce as many people to Bing in as many ways as possible

Aashish13 says:

In all the MS firms now, bing is the only one lacking behind features, we need more from them now in our phones and they should stop being partial and release their other fantastic for all countries

reprod3 says:

Bring it... I have been waiting for an update that would allow me more home screen customization. Hopefully they also let us pick our level of tint on the background.

OMG55 says:

Bring gifs to the lock screen as well. Pull out all of the stops and give yourselves the best chance to compete in the mobile space.

bsayegh says:

That looks pretty crazy. I wonde rwhat it will be like when you actually move your tiles around?

procen says:

Maybe it will adjust itself?

bsayegh says:

Yeah I am guessing so. I wonder if using a background will put limitations on how you can configure your tiles. Like all the spaces have to be filled or something. Anywho, i think it looks pretty cool!

rogerhew says:

Maybe...just maybe make your eyeballs roll. just thinking.

OMG55 says:

It would be nice to see your background move accordingly if its a scene line a waterfall or the like

DJCBS says:

Well I'm up for both skinning the background and skinning Tiles. Actually, I already have all the tiles I can skinned with Skinnery Themes, otherwise I would have stabbed my eyes with a fork already with all those annoying bright colours some apps come in. So all Microsoft needs to do is open those tiles that are closed (messaging, People, mail) for customization for third party apps and it's done.


Backgrounds should also make the OS more in line with Windows 8.1. And should also provide a nice way for people do choose either a colour or an image and differentiate themselves.

I also hope that the fixed 20 accent colours goes away in favour of a more open pallet of colours or even a colour wheel for users to pick up the colour they prefer (yes, even if they decide to have a black background with black tiles.)


As for the 3 columns, as long as it's not mandatory, I'm fine. I don't want it, I've been saying ever since they announced it that it would be a stupid decision to force it on smaller screens because the small tiles become unusable, but hey...since some people insist crying over them, give them as a choice. Chances are, 90% of them will realize how stupid it was of them to ever cry over the feature but and learn.

rockstarzzz says:

To each his own. Weren't people asking for a choice? Here with 8.1 MSFT has answer to everything plus hardware minus apps.

DJCBS says:

Yes, I'm glad they're making the OS more flexible and giving people more choice. It should help them captivate more people who shun away from the rigidness of iOS and are overwhelmed by the amount of tweaks that Android allows and they don't understand.

"As for the 3 columns, as long as it's not mandatory, I'm fine."

Sounds like it will be just 'show more Tiles' option like in Windows 8.1 now.

DJCBS says:

Which I hope remains until the final release. It's the sensible way to go.

rockstarzzz says:

Where is that option in Windows 8.1, never realised I had a choice!

rockstarzzz says:

Don't have any options under tiles other than "show admin tiles" - so presumably certain screen sizes don't get this choice?

DJCBS says:

Yeah. On the Surface running WinRT I have the option but on my PC running W8 Pro and connected to a big screen (23"), the option vanishes.

cesar ruiz1 says:

It better be an option can you imagine a Lumia 525 with 3 columns.

jcutting says:

"Chances are, 90% of them will realize how stupid it was of them to ever cry over the feature"

While you may not choose to use it, many probably will. During the GDR3 beta, many MS employees who had three columns on their 92x phones loved it and requested that it stay in as an option. That's likely the main reason the option could exist in WP8.1.

DJCBS says:

Well, we'll see. I've made a test by simulating the 3 columns on my L920. The small tile becomes so small it's rendered useless unless you stop and very carefully tap it.

I'm convinced most people will not want 3 columns on their 4"-4.5" screens. Don't forget MS employees aren't the general consumer. MS employees also thought it was a good idea to get rid of the Start button and menus and look at the backslash they got. Same for the Xbox's original DRM policies.

That's why I said I'm fine with the 3 columns as long as it's optional. That way only people who insist in having those will have them and use them. And then come to their own conclusions. Remember, it's not the same looking at something in a picture and find it awesome and then try it out for real. ;)

jcutting says:

Those employees were users of WP just like everyone here, not members of the team making the decisions. And they weren't just seeing a picture. It's more about having a wide tile and medium tile next to each other or three medium tiles on the same row. Having everything you want to see on one screen without scrolling was very popular. Small tiles still work fine for app launching, but aren't the main point of it.

iinnnnit says:

3 columns would be great if you are not used the mini tiles and I think it's a great balance between WP7 and wp8,wp8 use mini tiles make the home screen messy

Bloobed says:

While this, and many other features of 8.1 seem great, would it really have been that difficult to release some of these features 6-8 months ago? I'm sure they would've helped sell phones. Then again, better late than never.

DJCBS says:

That's true. It has been one of the main points of my criticism towards WP: Microsoft has been doing justice to the "Microsloth" nickname.

But hey...we can hope that they're now committed to change that.

OMG55 says:

DJCBS, I would like to apologize to you for categorizing you as a troll in my head(never on the open forum, but in my mind). Question for you: what would you think about a mode option that would essentially cloak (hide) the traditional square tile shapes that the icons rest on now giving the start screen a more traditional floating icon appearance? In this mode, a use would depend on the message center, toast notification, or Cortana, bringing the UI closer to what average consumer see today (Android & Apple) but more feature rich. I only ask this because the sales people are trying to promote WP and in the mode, the average consumer would visually see something the looks familiar and be more prone to try it without relying heavily on biased sales people.

iinnnnit says:

I think the 2 columns we have should make the tiles a little bigger,just hate the extra space on the left and right side of the screen,why Microsoft designer want to waste the left and right side of the screen?

Loving the IE improvements. I'm glad reading view and InPrivate tabs are coming! :D

sahib lopez says:

now i know what you are going to do with private tabs ....SHAME!!! ;)

cknorthpole says:

That would be awesome with the background thing.

Ms giving pretty awesome features in wp8.1 .....just waiting for the final list to release ....

EspHack says:

i want dreamscenes back please, the image on top looks like the perfect example of how it should look

toph36 says:

Ok, if you can have the screen look like that, the background would be cool. Not sure how it would work as you scroll down the screen, I guess it would just repeat the image.

As for the 3 columns of tiles, it would be great to have it as an option for my 928. If they do enable a Large tile size, then I think this would work great. With the 3 columns, I would love having the Medium tile taking up 1/3 of the screen, and the Wide taking up 2/3. The Small tile might be too small, but I hope they allow the option.

pierrerv says:

I've been waiting for that feature for years now.

Alonzo26 says: heart can't take it....I want my windows phone soon!!!!

Sounds like Astro in the right direction! Would be nice to have titanfall background or daark souls 2 background on the start screen wrapping around like the photos section!

Eric_J says:

I don't know why people are so hyper critical of Windows Phone. The live tile format is innovative and hasn't been around as long as the more mature iPhone and Android. Those have not changed in twice the time. People even called the Lumia Icon boxy but fail to criticize the unchanged iPhone style and size.

volcane2004 says:

Hopefully you'll be able to adjust the blurriness of the background.  Sharp photos may make it difficult to distinguish between the tiles.

sdreamer says:

Most likely the way of Windows 8.1. I think WP is already pretty customizable? What other OS makes it easy to change the color of the entire theme? Android lets you change a lot but I've never had a great experience with it since most of it are apps or skins that slow the OS down, and ios only allows a background, but in Windows Phone the color scheme is all round and not just restricted to the "home screen," which I think makes the phone a lot more personalized since you can change it at a whims notice, and not have to fiddle around with different skins.

Bloobed says:


Of course, it has problems of its own, but it sure is pretty. :)

Tips_y says:

That is one ugly mess! It is so tasteless and would be awful if they'd do it like that in WP8.1!!!

Bloobed says:

I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but Sailfish is one answer to the question presented by sdreamer: just a swipe from the home screen and a tap, and you can change the whole look OS, just by changing the background image, as well as some settings you've bound to it.

clappenings says:

It had better. Or else

mnicholszero says:

I hope it ends up looking just like that. Letting the tiles be like little "windows" and the other bit be the frame is VERY classy and creative. Matter of fact, I'd even like to see that come to the PC GUI. Whoever rendered that needs a big, PHAT check. :)

Not a render, you can have that look now with the Skinery Tiles app.

mnicholszero says:

OH! Looks like I need to get with the program! I'm currently on Android actually, looking to migrate with my next upgrade, so I know one app I'll be installing! :)

cybermoose89 says:

I knew it cant wait for this !

bitwise says:

I think one smart way to do it is that after a certain idle time the tiles would merge down to the background image showing just the flat background. There could also be an option like the tiles would look embossed when idle. Any tap or touch to the screen would reanimate the tiles, like pushing up from the image.

Sarang68 says:

Umm. Won't it use up the battery a bit more?

astroXP says:

That should do that but for the music player … à la Zune HD :-(

OMG55 says:

I hope you put that in the Microsoft suggestion box so it would be consider for this build.....did you? Or did you just come up with this?

IceDree says:

Ohh man fingers crossed for this !
I hope we get both options ... Regular & transparent tiles.

xxcorpxx says:

just keeps getting better and better.  April can't come fast enough for me.  I've gotten a few dozen people to switch from iphones and this will make them very very happy as well.  I am very hopeful that Cortana will be really good.  I use speech access on my daily commute all the time and it will be very nice to have something that is smarter and faster.

Kristijan87 says:

Honestly, I like the start screen the way it is (background-wise). This transparent thing looks nice, though, but as long as they keep it an option (which they will) I shall say no more. :) The tiles are very tightly packed so having a background image is kinda pointless but hey, it's all about having options!

peachy001 says:

This version is nice. I prefer it to Tom Warren's twitter that I noticed in the forums.

jm5001 says:

Ooh, that's terifically pretty...

rasim21 says:

Daniel I sware I thought this thing 2 or 3 weeks ago as an application but I am not a developer :( may be rudy can do :)

I really loved this Idea but they have to think about live tiles.

OMG55 says:

They did, they added a message center, ghost messages, and we already have lock screen notifications.