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Metro

Since its inception, Windows Phone has had a bold visual design language defining the core experience of the OS. Initially called Metro, Modern design gets its influence from the work of Massimo Vignelli, who famously made the NYC Subway maps, and the school of Swiss Style started in the 1950's. At Microsoft, the lineage starts with Windows Media Center, up through the ill-fated Zune HD, finally spearheading the core design of Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8.

Android though, has never had such luck. The UI has changed significantly since Android 1.0, often evolving around a very loose, almost ad-hoc set of principles. Things began to change once ex-Palm design head Matias Duarte joined the Android team back in 2010. Since then, we have seen attempts at a new language, notably the Roboto font for Android 4.0.

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Earlier this week, a rumor was started by a certain “journalist” who shall remain unnamed stating that the Windows Phone team was looking to “start over” in 2015, including a re-write of the OS and that they were even considering toying with the Modern look of the UI.

A few of you tipped us on it, asking us to cover the news but it’s a safe bet that if we don’t re-report something, it’s because we think it’s garbage. Indeed, this “journalist” has been more wrong than right in his ambitious predictions about Microsoft, Nokia and Windows Phone in the past, but other tech sites are addicted to his bold headlines.

Now, the Windows Phone Design team, responsible for the UI and "theory" behind Windows Phone, has evidently had enough, as they have publicly rebuked the rumor via their Twitter account.

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Today a collection of screenshots, showcasing redesigns within key Windows 8.1 applications, were leaked online. The shots showcase changes in the Windows Store and Xbox Music, along with brand new apps including a calendar, alarm clock, and voice recorder.

The newly leaked store design showcases an application “shelf” with more upfront descriptions. The new UI introduces more text to the interface and while it is still inspired by Microsoft’s modern design, it doesn’t have the close-feeling connection to the Windows Start screen that it previously had.

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Today has been an exciting day for both video gamers at E3 and Apple fans at WWDC. Despite what you may think, I actually followed Apple’s event just as closely as Microsoft’s press releases on the Xbox One.

As I sat on our sister site, iMore.com, and watched the WWDC Live blog I realized that I absolutely loved the updates to iOS7. Apple decided to go for a “flat” design and get rid of faux textures for a completely modern approach. As I watched on and became more excited I realized something; flat design, no faux textures, and Bing integration – this was Windows Phone.

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File under fun. Like most of you, we spend a lot of time staring at some screens throughout the day. Typically our Windows Phone device and computer are the ones that get the most action. You love the look and feel of Windows Phone and get that same familiarity in Windows 8. But what about in the wild web? You don’t have much control over how a site looks. Or do you?

If you want to make your web browsing experience on the desktop a little more like Windows Phone check out the following extensions for Chrome. Yes, Chrome, mostly because Internet Explorer doesn’t support add-ons/extensions at the moment like Chrome does. We’ll be making Reddit and the general web a little more “Metro”.

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Ever fancied spicing up your networking when handing out personal information? You can now enjoy that Windows Phone look with some business premade cards. These beauties, compiled by 1800PocketPC, are particularly useful should you not be incredible at graphic design. What's more is that you'll be promoting Microsoft's new design language.

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With the arrival of the new Facebook beta app for Windows Phone 8 this week, the discussion immediately focused on two aspects (1) functionality (2) design. The first one is one of those “in motion” issues that all betas face, meaning some functions may yet have been added (especially when combined with the ever changing feature set of the Facebook ecosystem). The second though ranges from personal opinion to a higher discussion of Design Principles.

More specifically, the question of whether the new Facebook app is “Metro” enough (or whatever you want to call the Modern UI Design Principles that runs through Windows Phone) has become one of the hot topics amongst commenters.

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We don’t cover too much on the topic of design around here, but this was too handy to pass up for developers looking to do more with Windows 8. Ratio Interactive (http://www.ratiointeractive.com/) is a digital agency up in Seattle that makes various apps for companies across a lot of platforms.

But lately they’ve been doing some kickass work with Windows 8 apps. Between running contests around app design and actually making apps (AllRecipes and various Conde Nest properties) they know a thing or two about Windows 8.

So here’s a handy handbook for Windows 8 design from the Ratio Interactive team.

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Metro newspaper app for Windows Phone fixed

It was barely over 24 hours ago that we reported issues with the Metro newspaper app and its inability to pull content down from their servers. At that time we reached out to the developers and received word that an update was coming to fix it. Well, here we are and a fix has already been pushed out to the Marketplace and is ready for you.

If you’re from the UK you’re probably fairly familiar with Metro, but for those of us on the other side of the pond it’s your typical news outlet – with the latest headlines in news, sports, culture and more. It's a nice Windows Phone app for all our friends in the UK.

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We had previously reported on Ben Rudolph kicking off the newest campaign to convince non Windows Phone users there is another way

The new website brings the existing videos into one place and even uses live tiles to allow you to select each video. Ben takes on Android and even turns around a potential iPhone 5 customer, if anyone can, Ben can. They need one Ben Rudolph in every mobile phone store, who could say no?

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HTC has kicked off its advertising campaign for the Windows Phone 8X, the company's flagship Windows Phone 8 handset, with an advertisement spotted in today's Metro newspaper. Running the latest version of Microsoft's mobile OS, the 8X packs a punch with the latest specifications and included Beats Audio.

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Nextgen Reader for Windows 8 now available in the Microsoft Store

Windows Phone always leant itself to reading and apps designed around reading due to its foundation being built on those Metro design principles for typography and layout.

Nextgen Reader has been a popular favourite with us at wpcentral and with readers alike. We just had a note today from the developers to say they have rescued Windows 8 users by launching their app in the store.

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Update: Microsoft has informed us that the actual name is 'Windows Store Applications', so there is no '8'. We're not sure if that's any better though.

We’re still here at Microsoft’s BUILD conference and during a talk on ‘the Microsoft Design language’, it was clarified during the Q&A session that Metro apps are now called “Windows 8 Store Applications”. Yeah, that’s a mouthful.

Microsoft’s Will Tschumy answered a question from the Verge’s Tom Warren on the matter and revealed the name to a laughing crowd. Clearly a room full of developers wanted to know what to call this design philosophy and they certainly got their answer.

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Windows Phone brought with it Metro, the design principles that have gone on to reach every aspect of Microsoft’s product line up. For those who have a keen interest in Metro and UX (user experience) in general you may have been following the excellent series by Arturo Toledo that explores all things Metro.

Arturo is a former senior user experience designer at Microsoft, the series has been fascinating and well worth a look.

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This week is going to be big news for Windows 8, today Skype have released a post about the coming metro style Windows 8 app.

Set to release at the same time as Windows 8 on the 26th the app looks set to seamlessly integrate with the OS in the People hub and provide “always on” connectivity. On top of that, this looks like one of the prettiest Windows 8 apps we have seen, showing that the metro style when done right is simply gorgeous.

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Yes folks it’s finally here, the week that will see Microsoft launch Windows 8, spearheading its massive 2012 product launch schedule. It’s keystone of the ‘Three Screens & Cloud’ play and this is where we see how it’s all going to shake out.

The pre-orders for Surface have started and even run dry in some regions, invites to the various launch events have gone out and now it’s time to put all the cards on the table. With such a wide ranging spruce-up of the entire product line from Xbox to Windows Phone, we’re in for a wild ride. Windows 8 will be at the centre of these launches, not just because it’s Windows but because with it we will see a whole host of services light up to enable the entire eco system.

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