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Microsoft's new 'exploding' Live Tiles to launch with Windows 10 for Phone

Windows 10 for Phone to have innovative Mixview Live Tiles

When it comes to Windows 10 on PC, much is already known in terms of enterprise design and features. After all, there is a public preview of Windows 10, which is downloadable to any laptop or PC right now. Still, the consumer end of Windows 10 is mostly a mystery at this time. Microsoft reportedly will detail more on that facet early next year.

Another unclear aspect is in regards to the Windows Phone UI. Although Windows 10 spans across PC, laptop, tablet, phone and even the Xbox One, it is not clear what, if any, changes it brings to the Start screen, especially on the phone.

Windows Central has been able to confirm with multiple sources that 'flyout tiles', also known as Mixview, will return to Windows Phone. Such a feature is returning because the concept was originally designed for the 3D Touch system that was to premiere with 'McLaren'.

Cancelled McLaren Windows Phone prototype

The cancelled 'McLaren' prototype Windows Phone was to have 3D Touch

McLaren was the codename for the new flagship Windows Phone set for release for fall 2014 before it was abruptly cancelled this past July. (A prototype of that phone was recently spotted as confirmed on Twitter by The Verge's Tom Warren).

At the time, Windows Central noted that although McLaren as a device is dead in the water, various aspects of the 3D Touch system would continue. Exploration into next-generation UIs and interaction paradigms is something that Microsoft is always working on in their Research division. Evidently, Microsoft has seen flyout tiles as something that could be used even without 3D Touch.

Flyout tiles and Mixview

From our original reporting in June on Mixview, we described the new Tile design this way:

"Imagine a Tile on your Start screen, as your finger hovers above the Tile, it wiggles a bit, giving you a visual indication that you are giving focus to the element. When pressing down in the air (without touching the Tile) it "explodes" into many smaller Tiles, up to eight with varying sizes and each revealing custom content from that app. For example, a contact's Tile could display their phone number, the last email, a text message, photos, etc."

It should be noted that such a system was describing the now-defunct 3D Touch gesture system. That iteration of the Start screen was to debut with Windows Phone 8.1 GDR2 on the now-cancelled McLaren Windows Phone.

The original Zune Mixview

Interestingly, Microsoft's original conception for Mixview can be observed in the Zune music software, seen above. Once again, it appears Microsoft is building off legacy design principles.

Fast-forward to late 2014 and although 3D Touch is not something currently in the works (to our knowledge), the Mixview UI is alive and well. A person familiar with the matter recently described to us the current recapitulation of Mixview running on a Lumia 830:

"…you can select the Facebook tile, just press for a second in a special part of the tile, and three new tile come on top of it, showing you notifications, messages, etc. You later press somewhere outside the Facebook tile, and it goes back to normal. It gives a new meaning to the whole "live tile" thing. I assume the Facebook feature is only a hint of the many uses this new feature could have, such as controlling music and messaging apps."

Update: Reportedly, the "special part of the tile" refers to an ellipsis graphic near the bottom right corner. Taping this reveals smaller, actionable tiles.

The above description matches our other sourced reports of what Microsoft is experimenting with for Windows 10. Windows 10, however, is not expected to launch until mid-2015 (at the earliest) and presumably much can change between now and its final release. We have to wait and see if Mixview makes the cut.

Evolving the Live Tile

Microsoft's Live Tile system is, arguably, one of its strongest assets in terms of OS design. While Android and iOS are still sticking with rows of icons for apps, Microsoft's Live Tiles stand out as a viable and interesting alternative. The question of 'where do we go from here?' is certainly a reasonable question, and Microsoft appears to have an answer with these purported flyout tiles.

Regardless, it should be clear that there is stil much to learn about Windows 10, including core aspects of design, interaction and new features. Assuming Microsoft fills in some of these knowledge gaps early next year, Windows Phone users will at least have something tangible to look forward to until its release.

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • Looking forward to Developer Preview.
  • Me to... Hoping it'll be a good three months before general release! So first half of 2015
  • The "live tiles" are one of the only remaining reasons to buy a Windows Phone at this point.
  • I would have agreed with you a week ago. But I purchased my first Android phone and have been using it for a week. Live tiles are not the only thing WP has going for it. Handsfree ability when connected via Bluetooth is much better in WP. Sure I could install an app and even program something through tasker, but oh my god what a garbled mess doing all that is. Something as simple as having a persistant toast message for meeting reminders requires an App. On the plus side, there is an App for everything and the widgets are not bad. I have a feeling i'll be back on Windows Phone as soon as they put out a decent flagship with Windows 10.
  • Oh man, I'm in the same situation. I'm using an Android phone and there are so many things I miss from WP. I also have a feeling that Windows 10 will bring back home.
  • Yeah. People switching to android or IOS, miss many features of WP. Windows Phone even though we hate you, we still love you.=)
  • Been there done that, I'm a busy person now and WP is a real time saver, no fuss smooth experience.
  • Agree.
    Now, lets see a 2015 spec'd top of the line, packed full of goodness, photo fabulous flagship please!!! :D
  • i couldnt agree more with your statement @rwalrond. im currently stuck with a nexus 5 after my 8x died due to water damage and the only phone i could afford was a nexus 5 which was on sale for around 100usd. i totally miss the typography/content oriented design of metro/modern ui. i dont need fancy icons. in windows phone the app list is presented with large text. i see what im looking for. my eyes hurt from searching through the sea of icons which are non functional (accept for being pretty). i just hope when 10 releases for phones, microsoft will consider having it booting from arm devices like a nexus 5 so i can flash windows 10 into it.
  • Personally, I think the main reason to buy a Windows Phone at this point is Bing Search.  My wife has an iPhone, and I have played with it trying to find a way to do the equivalent, for example with local results and the integration with mapping and Here Drive, and I just don't see it.  I have not tried an Android phone.  Live tiles are nice for calendar and weather.  Honestly, beyond those, I don't see much point.
  • there is a Bing App for ios 
  • Haha... Agreed. And the MODERN design
  • "Windows 10 for Phone"? Ugh. Why does Microsoft insist on adding extra and unnecessary words to things?!?
  • They haven't...yet.
  • HTC Hima (M9) with Windows 10 for Phones©. ;)
  • The 'for Phone' part is added by Windows Central so you can tell which UI they're talking about. Microsoft have actually removed the word Phone entirely.
  • Exactly. FWIW, this is very likely to be on Windows 10 for PC too, but at this time I only have multiple visual confirmations on Phone, so I wanted to make that clear.
  • Can we see a video of this. Call it an early christmas gift lol.
  • It's just for article clarification purposes. It's going to be just Windows 10 on everything.
  • Because... Oldie but goodie.
  • @ erasure25 I had not seen that before. And it was fantastic. Thanks for making my morning.
  • Microsoft has no idea how to market to consumers, including the way it names its products.  "Windows RT" is one example.  "Windows Screen Sharing" was another example.  They are clueless.
  • Lol
  • This sounds great. I'm glad Microsoft going "deeper" into thier particular UI choice with the Live Tile concept.
    I love Window's Phone and was glad to see all of the awesome updates that came with Windows Phone 8.1. I was disappointed however with the removal of the deep social network integration and messaging integration which essentially made social network apps "invisible" as you interacted with friends and Family on Facebook and Twitter, interacting with content, liking comments, tagging photos, commenting, etc. I understand the disentangling of the apps from the OS, logic to allow for more frequent and nimbler updates, however communication has become a tad clumsier as Windows Phone is more App Centric(like iOS and Android) than People -Centric as it was pre - 8.1.
    I find frustrating and abrupt which was once a seamless process when responding to someone on FB Messenger. Rather than going to the "person", now like iOS and Android we have to chase them through an App: Find messenger and message away. Or if I want to comment on facebook or view a contacts photos, I go to the contact then have to hit the Facebook short cut, a Facebook splash screen momentarily appears, then I am in the Blue and White Facebook app. Like Android and iOS .Whereas in time past, as we know, if we wanted to comment on a contacts Facebook posts or look through their FB images or tag them, you just went to the contact card and commented, viewed or tagged away. The "interface" was seamless. No abrupt leap from the contact card to an app with a visually different UI. The OS itself was like a portal to our social networking world. Seamless. I miss that. Extensibility and has been promised to bring other apps on board in accordance with the "quicker update, more app integration" vision, but we've seen little progress on that front thus far, and the Twitter app which was mistakenly released early on and recalled has yet to reappear(which I'm kind of glad it hasn't since Twitter is still represented the old way.)
    All that said I do enjoy all of she improvements 8.1 brought and I'm glad to see MS sticking to thier vision with the Live Tiles evolution! They have been accused of become more iOS and Android-esque in attempts to, I presume to some degree, be easier to transition to for iOS and Android converts. Keep holding to your guns Microsoft. Windows Phones uniqueness, Live Tiles, (Hubs and Social Network Integration) won many of us over. We have swallowed the bitter pill of the casualties of the loss of some loved features for what we have been told was for the good of the platform. Seeing Live Tiles the most distinct and visible feature of Windows Phone taken to the next level is exciting. I'm thinking this is just the tip of the iceberg. :-)
  • How long did it take you type that comment?!
  • HA :D
  • No matter how long you typed. But I agree to each and every word you said. Things like notification centre and Cortana are good. But removing features from the messaging hub and people hub was not a good decision. Microsoft's whole marketing scheme as "Your personal smartphone", has now kinda lost meaning.
  • I agree with everything you said. Microsoft has the ideas and people to really wow everyone. Their challenge has always been execution, consistency, and then communication! The other platforms have taken a cue from us with their recent design. I hope Microsoft lives up to its potential.
  • The more they go back to Zune UI the better. I hope to be able again to press oversized typography to return to previous menu. Such a joy to use.
  • Amen! I had a Zune HD and that was one of the greatest devices I have ever used
  • Agree. I still use a Windows Phone 7 device as my media player because the Zune software is so much better than the Xbox Music app (and also better than the Windows Phone app for desktop). I've been trying to add music the the microSD card on my new Lumia 630... but I can't get it to work right... which is incredibly frustrating. I also can't get it to download Maps to my SD card.
  • Is there actualy still coming a GDR2 release for Windows Phone 8.1? It was planned to be released in October according to WCentral. Anyway, I think it's a nice features. Looking forward to it. :)
  • I seriously doubt that.
  • It will by the end of the next year..
  • Wut? By that time W10 will be out.
  • that was gdr1
  • GDR1 was released in August. GDR2 was planned for October 2014, but never happened for now. Did you even read my comment?
  • With the 'Coming Soon' everytime, it reminds me October comes every year!!
  • GDR2 is supposed to add hardware support to 2.7 GHz Snapdragon 805 and 2K display.  Since no new high-end phones will be released in the near term, GDR2 may come in the early Spring.  Hopefully, MS will surprise us in MWC 2015 (March 2-3) with a new high-end phone announcement.
  • "When pressing down in the air (without touching the Tile)" I'm confused because that seems it would require new hardware?
  • That's them quoting from the information given about the now defunct McLaren that they were working on. That was the last time we had heard of the "exploding tiles", that is why that description was included.
  • I guess.. So not all phones will be having this feature, right?
  • The tiles themselves will have a spot that you press for a second and they will 'explode' so all phones will support it. Think right click vs left on a mouse.
  • I was thinking of...
    Tap once, open app
    Tap twice, open app Mixview ;)
  • The app would open on the first tap though, giving you no chance to tap a second time
  • Yeah, reverse is better: One tap explode, two taps opens (like Windows on PC)
  • No, think of the "long press", the method you use to resize your tiles now. The resize arrow is in one corner while the tile is in "resize mode", and the "unpin" button is in another right? Well the "exploding ellipse" button could be in an adjacent corner, no? (there's currently still two free corners!)
  • Eh, long press kinda sucks. Double tap to explode will work fine. The device will just wait a split second for another tap before the app launches.
  • Nobody wants that
  • That's what I was thinking.
  • IMO, a zoom in gesture on the tile with two fingers would be more natural and wouldn't require new hardware.
  • That would work really well for the larger tiles, but if you have extra tiles displayed on a regular sized phone, then the small tiles are too small for two fingers.
  • I agree with you that would be much more natural, and I disagree with the other guy, I think it would still work well with small tiles, and even if it doesn't it could be made for large tiles only.
  • Yes, this is perfect!
  • Nice idea actually. But I doubt it. Pinch gesture require two fingers and some of us like to operate the phone using only one thumb in most case. If this gesture is used, I will be one of them who will rarely use the feature.
  • Another way to explode a tile could be a small swipe. MS already uses swipes for selection though.
  • Read the article again...
  • With super sensitive touchscreens, which are on many Windows phones, you don't need to actually touch the screen to indicate a tap so no, this will surely not need new hardware.
  • Try the Lumia 1520. With the phantom touch, it does that sometimes.
  • LOL
  • Haha
  • As for the current situation, i think they should put the double tap feature in the notification panel, just like for the wifi settings, one tap to turn on/off and double tap to goto settings. Miss that feature for Bluetooth settings in the notification panel.
  • That "pressing down in the air" reminds me of super sensitive touch for a second. You really don't need to touch the screen when that thing is enabled. You can hover your finger over the screen and it works on my 525. *works better when scrolling and swiping. Actually that doesn't work for things like typing.
  • woaaah
  • Finally! Some good news for Windows Phone! :)
  • Yes indeed a very good news
  • Final y? Lol...
  • I am currently very much pissed with the OS limitations coupled with the App gap.... So something new coming to WP is a good news
  • Can I ask you exactly what limitations you are talking about. I mean you can do stuff on WP that you can't on IOS like use game emulators and bit torrent clients try that on a iPhone.there ain't much other then using pirated software you can't do on WP. So if you wanna screw game developers out of money go buy a jailbroken iPhone or a android but I always think that's bad karma. As far as the supposed app gapp how many do you realm need WP gots 350,000 apps in the store and constantly growing. I now there are a few first party apps still missing but you can find just as good if not better third party alternatives.. I mean everybody just likes to nit pick they go oh WP do have the exact same app as iPhone/android. They have a better third party app but its not the exact same so I can't be different from all my little friends what will they think of me. Come on people new apps and games are arriving daily on WP I like to watch it grow if you don't believe my follow all the WP websites and news letters and you'll. See more and more developers are starting to take WP seriously.
  • Dude, I have come to wp8 after trying all other platforms viz lagdroid, BB OS10.2, and iOS. I was sceptical about wp so I chose a mid ranger Lumia 720 a year back. I would like to say that I pretty much love ❤ wp8.1 PfD. And I am waiting for a flagship from MS Lumia to upgrade. Hence Anything new coming with windows 10 is welcome. And FYI I follow many WP dedicated sites along with sites for other OSes. So stop being so fanboy, and accept the facts plus enjoy our beloved WINDOWS PHONE.
  • The funny thing is instead of answering my question and providing actual conter points to my argument you just call me a fan boy and I by my own admission am a WP fan boy. That don't make what I said any less true at least I'm not fake and come on a windows phone dedicated site and act like I'm a fan and bash I also don't troll othe tech sites dedicated to ios/android why cuz I don't give a crap about that Linux wearing makeup open source piece of crap known as android. Or IOS I do care about people whining about something like a apo gapp that really ain't a problem any more. If you think if is do everybody a favor and go buy a android.iPhone and stop the bitching
  • Where are the official apps for instagram, how crappy FB app is you must be knowing, twitter app sucks, Pinterest? Snapchat? Oh and where are Google apps? I know you will say its google problem! So grow up kiddo the list is endless. Where are current top chart games? I know there are aplenty of 3rd party apps. But just if you understand the difference between father and step father then the discussion ends there. And mind you I can use much more abusive language than you can imagine. But I am here for news, reviews, and everything else about MS and not here for a retard like you. So STFU.
  • -Instagram : I'm not sure what are you talking about but the official instagram app is available for more than half a year allready.. - Facebook: I find my fb app pretty good, at least it doesn't lag like it does on my sister's galaxy.  -Twitter: You have a dozent of twitter apps, some are reportedly even better than oficials on other platforms  -Pinterest : it is available... -Snapchat: Use 6snap, it is better anyway.  -Google apps: why dont you fooking grow up and realize that it is not in Microsoft's hands to bring you google services and apps and go  ask your beloved google that huh ? why are they afraid of competition ? oh and who in the sane mind would use google services when you have better offerings here at Microsoft ?  I dont know what is your problem, but it is not smart comming to a site dedicated to windows and complain how you like anything else better ...   
  • Thank you for the clarifications. The guy has no idea about WP and repeating stuff that he used to write from last year. Needless to say, when you present facts these haters are either going to call you name or run away. We pity these guys.
  • This just goes to show that you either don't use a windows phone or don't update your apps cuz fb and what's app just got updated and they are 100% better then they were before as far as instagram I suspect it will get alot better to cuz facebook is buying them and unlike google fb has a better relationship with Microsoft and supports it better the instagram did so I think we will finally see instagram out of beta and much improved once fb finish there purchase of instagram. As far as snap chat well there is 6snap its better then the snap chat app but just cuz it ain't like your friends and you might get laughed at you wont use it. As far as Google well they can go f### themselves for all I care. And I'm sorry but I don't shut the f### up for you or anybody you call me a retard but prove you are by your constant bashing if you don't like windows phone but like Xbox or windows for PC that's fine read them articles but why come on a article about WP and call someone who enjoys WP a retard cuz they wont bend down and kiss googles a##. Just cuz you follow the crowd don't mean every one does 95% of people are follower so don't feel bad.peace out. Cuz I I really could give a rats a## what you think about me or what you think.
  • Search those 350000 apps, you will get 10 fake apps for each missing official app.... Then come and lecture me. I use not more than 20 apps at a time on my phone but the ones you prefer are crappy then uts bad.
  • Its the same in Android, a lots of fake apps. First learn to search. A Windows Central reader already knowS which apps they need to install. All the good stuff are discussed here in WC.
    Because you are a hater you would not know about that would you?
  • Bro...fact check...instagram was bought by fb in yeah, relations between fb and MS isn't really working out when it comes to Instagram...
  • Duh? The one who needs to STFU is YOU, dork!
  • Dude how old are you 15 very mature call me a retard for liking something and just because you don't agree with me you get all pissed and call people names dork is the funniest haven't heard that one in years. I done told you once I shut the f### up for no man.
  • Huh? My previous comment was a response to Rizwan Naghtan's comment, not yours. Didn't you see him say STFU? I can hardly get pissed off, but that Rizwan guy is an A*hole.
  • "the list is endless". You've seen this endless list? Are you personally installing all 350,000 apps on your 720? That would be cool!
  • @rizwan: ha! so fake. you're def not a WP user. and you expect google apps in WP?! lol. are you living under a rock?
    just go back to where you're from.
    you're drunk, poser.
  • Give me your email address and I will send you image of me along with my Lumia 720 + BB Z10 + Samsung Galaxy Tab. That might convince you that I own a WP.
  • @Rizwan - Hello bro mujhe to lagta hai yahan angrezi chutiye bhare hain but I disagree with you on one thing and that is the app gap is filling rapidly. I can see WindowsStore logo in TV ads of almost 90% local apps. All I want is local apps. I don't give a damn to things like SnapChat and Instagram (6tag is better than official apps on all the platforms). Talking about Google apps what you need most Gmail and YouTube I am sure you can get better alternatives on WP .
  • Re: gcdc_Lumia,
    (Thank you for indicating what/who you are responding to.)
  • I'm with you RIZWAN. Yep I'm a WP fanboy too and love this OS. I would never switch to another one. BUT that doesn't mean that I don't have right to complain or celebrate things. If we won't complain, how would the developers know that if they are doing their job good. Complaining is the first step for improving.
    You don't need to just close your eyes and accept anything that's coming to you, compare it with other os . There are only as some exceptional apps that have quality better on WPOS. And that's the truth even if you are a fanboy.
  • There is still a big gap in local apps though.
  • Man, try to be objective... WP has limitations, that's a matter of fact. It's a closed OS and that means stability, smoothness and safety for the users but at the same time limitations, cause apps cannot access every process in the OS like it happens in Android for example. As for the app gap, the most popular ones are all there but the quality is not on par with the other platforms, they're usually slower and/or lacking in features... Just look at Fb or Whatsapp. The problem though is with local apps, banks and smaller companies don't even bother developing them.
  • I've been a pretty strong support of Windows Phone since the beginning. Honestly, it is getting very hard to recommend them anymore. Want the best Office experience? Android or iOS. Want the best gaming? iOS or Android. Want support for everything under the sun? iOS or Android. Music? lololol. It is terrible on WP. Even being full in with the Microsoft ecosystem, WP is no longer the smart choice. Cortana is amazing for sure. Nokia's cameras were ahead of everyone else. The whole thing is so damned frustrating. So much potential, ruined by lack of hardware choices, and failure to ever put themselves first. "But just wait for X...". No, it is my $. If Windows 10 doesn't really blow me away, I'm moving onto android sadly.
  • The only thing that really bugs me about Windows phone is that popular apps and games take so long to make it to our OS. I'd like to see devs release apps simultaneously for WP, IOS & ANDROID rather than have to wait for an official app, or even wait for a third party app, (I have to hand it to some of the devs out there though, our third party apps are awesome) Another thing that pisses me of about WP (or rather Microsoft) is that Microsoft apps are often better on ios and Android than they are on WP?! Take the Office app for example, that's a serious let down from Microsoft.
    Can't wait for Windows 10 and to see what new lumias will come with it, this is when we should really see what Microsoft as a phone company have to offer.
  • Only apps running in the background. That sucks on WP.
  • Unlike Android, you can control what apps can run in the background in WP. So you are another fake.
  • Y do I have a feel that you are fake? Ever multitasked?? It sucks on WP. M a fanboy too but I can accepts the facts. I think u should too.
  • Wow. Ive been using WP since its inception and the multi tasking inWP8.1 is super smooth, fast, and immediate. Multi tasking is a fail on iOS (reloads the app most often), and on Android,, where the app crashes and restarts. So, No, you are a fake. Without any substance you are babbling stuff. So, mt question, where exactly do you think WP lacks on multi-tasking compared to its competition?
  • I'm not saying that it's smooth or quick, it is quick when you do it in a short time. You talking about iPhone, you just described everything about Windows Phones multitasking. IOS is fast, it doesn't say resuming all the time, it's smooth and I never experienced it being what you said it is. IOS jumps right back where you left out even if you waited all day, not WP, it has to resume or reload after a few minutes. BTW don't judge me, I'm a WP user and don't like Android or IOS like that. Trust me or else I would have an iPhone or Android. Just speaking the truth that's all.
  • Of course! I use new gen iPad and resuming of apps happen all the time. So either hou are lying or you have not used an iOS device. In multi tab browsing if you switch back to a webpage it often reloads. Apps or games reloads if not ob focus after couple of minutes. WP multi tasking is much faster and immediate. Its also very smooth. All the apps that I use (Metrotube, readit, Converge, WCentral, Internet Explorer, Overdrivr, Facebook, Gleek, OneNote, Podcasts, Mail, Nextgen reader, etc) I rarely face resuming screens. Also, if you are comparing the user experience of 512 MB cheap Lumia 5xxx device with an expensive iPhone, then you are not right in your head. Compare your experience when you use a Lumia Icon for example and then come back.