Microsoft announces the new Start Screen for Windows Phone 8 (Updated with Video)

Windows Phone 8 Start Screen

Microsoft today showed off the new Start screen for Windows Phone 8. The new Start screen in Windows Phone 8 has three new elements, including

  • Variable tile sizes, including user customizable selection between small, medium and so-called “double wide” tiles
  • Removal of the “gutter” aka “the gap” known as the off-centered space to the right of the Start screen. The gutter was a carry-over from the Zune days but now Tiles will be evenly distributed on the Start screen
  • New tile colors – yes, while the 10 + 1 model of Accent colors for Windows Phone carried us for nearly two years, Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 7.8 will offer a wider selection of colors

The Windows Phone 8 new Start screen offers a more personal experience by being more customizable, giving users greater choice and control. Whle it doesn't match Windows 8 desktop exactly, it's fairly close and should please many users.  

Hit the break for more pics and a video highlighting the new start screen.


Windows Phone 8 Start Screen

Windows Phone 8 Start Screen

Windows Phone 8 Start Screen


Reader comments

Microsoft announces the new Start Screen for Windows Phone 8 (Updated with Video)



Daniel Rubino,

Remember when I said you haven't seen a real WP8 start menu and that you told me that I was the one WHO DID NOT? :)


What the hell is gutter? And for a second I was sceptical about the small tiles, but then realized how great it would be not having to flick and search all the time for an application that didn't need a big live tile :D

The gutter is the empty space to the right of the live tiles. I am all for it going away. And I wouldn't worry about the small tiles, because, if I'm reading right, you will be able to customize the size. You can just make them all medium instead of small.

Losing the gutter is a BIG loss. Makes me VERY nervous that the great design that drew me to WP is being diluted / tainted / abandoned. This MS fan went from Bewitched (by Surface) on Monday to Bothered & Bewildered (by new WP start screen) on Wednesday. SO hope its not an altogether done deal.

Put medium tiles in one column and small ones in the next column and you'll have a gutter sort of. Might actually look nice too.

Yeah those were my thoughts. Medium tiles down the left side, small tiles to the right of thos and voila! Gutter (stupid Paul Thurott and his word).

same, while i like the idea of small tiles, this looks way to cluttered without that clean gutter off to the left..

It's the watered down version of WP8 that current users are going to be able to upgrade to. We get the cool start screen and some other little things but that's about it.

Stop acting like your on you cycle! if you want leave the tile the way they were natively, you can. So again stop crying.

Haha! Well, that's what's great about it is, you can customize it to keep it they way it is now... I like that you have that option... Easy solution! Rape avoided! =)

So the small icons are too small and the medium icons are too big? I think you are grasping at straws here.

While you obviously entitled to your opinion I dont see where your getting you can only fit six every picture gas more then six tiles. Unless your referring to something different.

He is referring to the increased size of the tiles. Since they removed the gutter they enlarged the 'medium' tile size to be larger. So intead of the 8 'medium' sized tiles you see on your phone now, you can only fit 6 'medium' sized tiles on the new OS, which is evident you you see the screenshots. As a result, you can't really get it looking the same as the original version since the sizes are all different.

I see it differently.  You can make the tiles all the same size as current wp, but w/out the gutter.  Keep the tiles exactly how you have it.  What you are seeing is what they customized for an example to show off the different sizes, etc.  YOU can make the tiles how YOU want them to be.  That is a good thing.
People complain not enough customization, you give them customization they complain they have too many choices.  

You are kidding right?  It is a demo, presentation.  Removing the gutter does not really impact the size much, if at all.  It is just centered.  Plus, you make the tiles how you want to make them.  How is this so hard to understand.

I liked how WP7's design was so simple, the icons were the same size, and the arrow space fitted perfectly with the theme... WHY?? It just looks too messy!

It makes absolutely no sense to say that it is messy because you can customize it which ever way you want and if you want to leave blank spaces you can. You are complaining about having the choice to be (in your opinion) messy as if someone is forcing you to be

Haven't we all complained when theres been a bad photoshop in a magazine or on a website where they copy/paste the tiles and stretch them all the way across the screen? It looks bad every time, and we always notice. Then Microsoft made that the default.... I don't get it.

Be quiet troll we all know it awesome looking and go back to your junk iPhone and android phones those are the ugly phones

I liked the artist mockups better. Glad for the customization though. I wish the nav app would update in the tile and u could make it half the screen and still see other live tiles

I hated the artist mockups, I think this is a much better compromise between current WP7 and people who wanted something similar to windows 8. Just my .02.

yeah. I'm guessing you can customize it by just keeping each row's as 1 medium + 1 small square wide.. but then u can't have double-wide tiles or 2 medium squares side-by-side..

it would be great if there was just an option in settings to scale the whole layout to fit the space it currently occupies, gutter and all..

The new customizability & functionality are great. Muddying the WP design magic - not so great. Losing the negative space.. which has also brought with it altered tile sizes / proportion on screen, and a banal centered alignment.. makes me shudder. SO cluttered & busy, so NOT clean & clear. I hate to say it, but this huge WP fan is really let down - and really worried that the beauty of WP is being sacrificed for gimicry.

On the fence for this one. I hate the way win 8 looks compared to WP7. Hopefully it won't be as ugly as the desktop 8.

You must not use win 8 because tile size is only a fraction of what makes them different. Thanks for playing though.

Luv'n it. If you want more on you start screen.... You got it! If you want to keep it the way it is... You can do that too! Customizable!!!! Great! =)

how? I can't keep it the way it is now because if I want a gap on the left I can only fit one medium square (current size) and one mini square. that means no two medium squares side-by-side and no double-wide tiles, at all..

they didn't just add a 3rd column as people seem to think, rather they scaled the two columns up to fit the whole width of the screen, and, (separate issue) added smaller tiles.

It looks WAY too busy now...2 columns showed enough for me. This would be horrible on the smaller screen devices. I guess you could make it 2 columns by changing the sizes...

Just use a top row of 4 small icons for things like phone, email, texts, and something like browser or whatever that doesn't convey a lot of info, then 6 more medium tile below that and you get 10 items in place of the 8 before minus the arrow/gutter space.  Still looks clean and simple and you gain a bit of real estate with a couple more items.

maybe you can try it first before talking crap? oh wait, i dont think so. thats the way complainers and idiots acts, they critize something they havent even used.

If it helps you, this arrangement looks very customizable so maybe you can tweak it to your own taste later? 
And on the plus side, that'll also be better than complaining on an online forum.

1st I've herd of it, but would make sense, since they are improving the hardware... Wouldn't expect a FULL upgrade to be avail on wp7.5

You sure? I just read about a month ago, that they would upgrade... Just might not have all FULL features due to hardware upgrades.

Still want to know if there is going to be preview messages on the live tiles or options to turn it on or off.

im going back to iPhone i would have thought for sure the Lumia 900 would receive the update its been two months and its already been declared obsolete 

So almost all the features of WP8 in 7.8 for current devices are not enough? How about iphone4 users not getting things like siri after just one year? Anyway, ta ta!

Who the f**k cares of lumia users. All I care is OS how fast and fluid it is still and new features. Thank Microsoft save nokia butt from failing

This is exactly what I was scared about - it's the same bloody update, just a different name for us Mango/pre-Mango users because of obvious hardware limitations. They should have just called it WP8 for all and maybe the whining would have gone down a notch. I love it when companies are honest with users and detail exactly what's happening - something MSFT did in this case but it's whining like this that makes me think otherwise.
Honestly, what are you complaining about? You are getting the EXACT same update from a software standpoint, you certainly don't expect Microsoft or Nokia to send down a rep. to put an NFC chip in your phone, do you?

I must agree the start screen looks like there is too much business going on. Hopefully the organize multiple screens like windows 8. But I bet you can customize it to look like wp7.

but no more arrow and start space! I think that looks great! no background colors or setting individual tile colors either.

Is there a second screen still? The app list we have now, or do all installed apps have to have a tile on the start screen?

While very welcome and exciting, my initial impression is also mixed with UGLY. To a certain extent too much live tiles loses the elegance of what is found in the start screen of WP7.5 and W8. It feels elementary and cluttered. I'm just glad that it's customizable and with a strategic design in customization (sizes, placement/location), you can retain the elegance WP7.5. 

Awesome Awesome UI and new look. IPhone and android UI are still dead and boring. Windows 8 new look is a total success. So fricken beautiful. Wonder if apple co founder Steven Wozniak gonna love it again hahhaha apple iPhone and android learn a lesson how a smartphone should look and that's. Windows phone 8

Hahha I knew it was going be new look and Daniel says will be same UI look hahaha he just don't know

They aren't showing many end-user features of the OS today, this is developer stuff and core functions.  I'm 99.9999999999% sure the app list still exists if you swipe to the left with your finger, just no more arrow tap.

The app list is confirmed to exist on the video of a lumia 900 running 7.8 Apparently the current early builds have bug issues with the swipe to right or app list.

Kind of disappointed in it, I understand they want to make the various flavors of Windows all seem the same, but different devices and usage models dictate otherwise. I find the arrow and negative space intuitive...has there been any mention of something like a notification area to the left?

It was displaying scores? Let me look again. Edit: And, so it was. Heat v Thunder. Think that was game 2.

hmm, now its ugly from a design perspective.
metro needs whitespace to breath. now windows phone new centered layout looks like the uninspired centered ios layout.
it is a nice feature to spit the tiles, but now it is impossible to have 2 squares AND the gap on the right side.
for me as a designer the gap was a  necessary key part of metro.
whats next? a full centered windows 8 screen?  :(
i want the gap and the golden proportion back. please microsoft make it an option.
centered for those who fear whitespace.
and well proportioned for the designers out there.

YES!!! +1,000,000,000,000

agree with everything you just said. this is really sad. the current configuration could have easily supported the addition of mini tiles without killing the beautiful metro aesthetics. people call the so-called gutter 'wasted space' but it's integral to the look and feel of WP, which i feel has (had) the best UI I'd ever seen.

New start screen just is ok. But i believe that thie will be soft wish let us expierence to windows 8 pc transform start screen

I love the new Start screen.  Not sure how those small tiles are going to look on my Lumia 900, though.  I guess I'll find out soon enough!

Am I the only one that noticed that not once during any of todays articles/events did someone swipe to the right to see the app list??

I think they were really focusing on apps and app development. Its not important to developers how their app looks on an applist. I think they are just saving somethings for a later announcement

Apparently there current version contains a bug that prevents that functionality. I guy showing it said its still there.

what about the app-list when I was switching the startscreen to the left?! is that removed in WP8 ?! ans is each app fixed to the startscreen?! Maybe they will annouce folder-mode as well to handle 100+ apps ?!?!

Microsoft is not playing around!!! And with Nokia, unstoppable. I do hope Samsung brings a S3 variant though

Removing the gutter has a downside:  the tiles colums are not increased from 2 to 3, rather the tiles have increased in size horizontally and veritcally.  Unfortunately, this means you can only fit three rows of standard square tiles on the screen at one time, whereas you currently can fit 4 full rows.  This seems like a step backward.

By looking at the pictures you can see that you can fit 6 rows and 4 columns on the screen if you use the small tiles

It's only a step backwards if you keep very tile medium size. I know I will shrink certain tiles such as the phone tile, so I will see more than the current 8 tiles without scrolling.

The new start screen wins on so many levels. I really don't know what all the complaining is about. The customization is freaking awesome!

All I have to say is I am so proud to be a windows phone user I knew it would be better than anything out there even tho I get laughed at constantly by iPhone users But look who's laughing now can't wait!!!

What the fuçk? First people were complaining about the gap and now that it's gone, more complaints? What is wrong with people?

good design polarizes. the gap was polarizing. now its the same unispired arrangement like ios.
everyone can create a middle-arrangement. menas more people will like it, but designers and people with a feeling for design now dont love it. like me.

no, it means people get used to it and seeing different make them complain now. that has nothing to do with design or not...
same happens with new start screen in windwos 8, specially when it works fairly better than currest start menu, because start menu is a mess, still people got used to it and seeing it changed make them complain.
its all about getting used to it. thats all not "good design polarizes" or any crap like that.
and yeah i mean if start screen was like this, from 1 day, and now they were adding the arrow ith the space, people would complain about it and how it should be like "before" because "it was better before" 

Actually, this is where you're incorrect. From the early previews of WP7 there were many (like me & jeanclaude) that loved the look straight away. The offset (gutter) was a beautiful design touch, and helped your eyes focus on the top-left tile due to the golden ratio.

I watched the entire live stream today, and to be honest, some of the screen configs looked like someone spilled a box of legos.

And to those of you saying "STFU, you can keep it the same", no, you cant. 2 medium tiles break the gutter. 1 large tile breaks the gutter.

As a UI/UX designer for almost 20 years, and someone who MS flew out to Redmond to preview WP7 before it's release, I feel we took a step backwards today when it comes to the elegance that was Windows Phone.

Big WP booster, but unfortunately I have to agree - looks like some slick functionality added, & ability to customize is great.. But design-wise I cringe more than a little. Seems to be a bit of a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. May skip the update, which would be unfortunate. Still, even though I'm less than convinced about the changes, it IS great to see MS continue to push & innovate in WP.

Agreed. There is still a lot to love about WP8. The new features are amazing. I will be upgrading my Arrive for a WP8, but the new start screen puts is one step closer to the clutter and chaos that Android is (in)famous for.

Also, lets not overlook the fact that with the gutter, the height of half-tiles was also smaller. Stretching them accross the screen  made the tiles taller, to the point only three rows of tiles (half & full) are visible on a screen.
So while raising the amount of items you can place on the WP8 start screen, they effectively lowered the information density.
I think I'm going to start a movement called "Less clutter. More Gutter".
Who's with me?

Yea I like it. and seeing as I have a first gen and a second gen the start screen will be nice to have. Then around the the first of the year I'll replace the HD7. Not sure what the beef is about on the upgrade heck if you like the OS then you have to be happy with the way they are going with it.

Some people on here talking about wanting more customization and now are complaining about it, lol.You can keep the mango setup or not love what they have done.

I don't think that there is no applist. It just does not make sense by removing it and having all the apps as tiles. This would lead to chaos on the startscreen. Maybe they have a gesture based start screen now with edge detect (like win8) where you scroll from edge and you get the applist (notification center would also be great this way)..

Sooo... Any news on when the 7.8 will be available?

made this comment on a post earlier..
They could have treated us like apple does their fans. That is
Windows Phone 8 will be on all phone.  and then a * comment on the bottom of the screen with tiny letters that says..... " not all features available on all devices"
At least MS was honest upfront about it today and didn't pull our chains for the next few months and then drop the bomb on us.

Ya this update situation might suck but I prefer the transparency Microsoft is showing. If Apple did this it would be no big deal.


apple should call iOS 6 for iPhone 3GS and iphone 4 iOS 5.5. If anything they are the ones misleading consumers. 






I'm in love with that screen... Can't wait. Although, I hope not too many features are reduced for legacy phones.

From the look of it, all this is, is re-sizing and grouping of tiles which is a welcome site for me. Now I can group the phone,market place, messaging and IE in one square grouping instead of each individual taking up more screen space. I know I can resize and group tile elegantly to maintain WP7 beauty. All of the people complaining are must not have organizational skills!
Maybe when WP8 come out and I've organized my screen, I'll put out a HOW TO video!

Was not really liking the look of this new start screen idea until I watched the video of how it works... Very nicely done MS. Very innovative. Gotta say, I have been very impressed with their scrappiness lately. They are just trying to go punch for punch with Apple and Google, they are pulling out roundhouse kicks for the eventual knockout...

Ya same here. I might like the simpler look of the previous version better but I think the extra functionality is worth it