Microsoft is rarely a company I associate with stylish design and forward-thinking enhancements. Until Vista gave Windows a bit of a visual pick-me-up, the only adjective I could give to Microsoft’s operating system was “drab”. I mean XP was ugly, it just wasn’t anything to be proud of. Yet over the past few years, Microsoft has made some good steps in improving their aesthetic. Still, even with a new coat of paint, you can always see the old, sometimes dysfunctional, UI paradigms in place. And then all of a sudden comes “Metro”, this whole new UI design for Windows Phone 7. It’s classy, minimal, uses space efficiently, and most of all unique. Metro was this side of Microsoft we had never seen before. One that could appeal to young, artistic types in the way OS X and iOS have. Metro has spread into the “oh-yeah-that-thing” Zune and the 360’s latest UI update but I always craved to see Microsoft do a thorough reworking of Windows to make it really cohesive and feel new.
Well, enter Windows 8
This is the start screen for Microsoft’s next generation desktop operating system. This is Metro. At first you may wonder what the hell happened to your ol’ faithful OS? Where are the windows? The start menu? The task bar? Where is Windows?! Well, all that stuff is kind of ancillary in Windows 8. Microsoft dropped the ball on the tablet revolution. They said Windows 7 supported touch, but it was only a thin layer of support. Windows 7 tablets never materialized in any meaningful way. Instead Apple dominated the market with the iPad and Google has mobilized its own army of Honeycomb tablets to battle for the market. Microsoft is out in the cold on the new frontier in the PC market. That is not a place Microsoft can be. So get over your shock about this new UI and see the possibilities.
Only time will tell if this works. But in the meantime, at least Microsoft has the aesthetic part down…. finally. Check out the video below.