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Let us know if you love or hate the new Start screen in Windows Phone 8.1

We are now less than a week from officially seeing Windows Phone 8.1 for the first time. The unveiling is happening next week at Microsoft’s Build conference in San Francisco. Not only do we get to see the new mobile operating system from Microsoft, but Nokia is expected to announce two new Windows Phone 8.1 devices – the Lumia 630 (Moneypenny) and the Lumia 930 (Martini).

We’ve seen quite a bit of Windows Phone 8.1 over the past few weeks. Generally we’ve seen the Windows Phone community pleased and excited about all the upcoming changes. But there’s one feature that has a lot of you divided. That’s the new Start screen on Windows Phone 8.1. We’ve all wanted a little more customization options for the part of Windows Phone we spend a lot of time looking at. Microsoft is adding background image support, but in a way not a lot of people expected. Do you like it?

Start screen Windows Phone 8.1

Check out the image above. That’s how the Start screen will look when you select an image to it. A lot of people were hoping to be able to set backgrounds on the Start screen as you would in Windows 8.1. Right now in Windows Phone 8, you’re able to select either a light theme or dark theme for your phone. The light theme gives a white background upon which your Live tiles sit atop, while the dark theme makes that space black. A lot of folks had hoped to replace that black (or white) space with the image of their choice.

That’s not exactly how the new Start screen works in Windows Phone 8.1. Instead, you’ll be able to have your image on the Start screen, but it’ll show through the various Live tiles that can be set to transparent. It also animates really nicely thanks to a parallax effect. You can see it in action below.

Your turn

We’ve seen the community passionately divided on the upcoming change. Some users love it, while others are opposed to it. Thankfully this is just an option and not something you’ll have to endure if you don’t’ like it. Personally, most of us here love it. It looks beautiful. Your turn. Share your thoughts in the poll below and in the comments.

Reading this in one of our apps? You’ll want to head to Internet Explorer to take the poll m.wpcentral.com/love-or-hate-new-start-screen-windows-phone-81

646 Comments
  • I love it!!
    Edit: Sorry i kinda missed the poll bit. Will vote.
  • @Sam,Will we have picture passwords like in Windows 8.1? Thx
  • There are many secrets in wp8.1 :D
  • Dont you think, if wpcentrral knows, they'll tell?
  • No.
  • No to passwords? Or No you won't tell?
  • If Sam replies No is no wont tell. Daniel on the other hand, no to passwords ;)
  • Got it. At this point I'd be surprised if there are many more secrets left.
  • I'll give you a dollar
  • Lol
  • Sam.. Have you ever thought about animations on the start screen❔.... Do you think it would be cool if we could add short animations, like how Bing for desktop does, to the start screen in the way WP8.1 does background images❔
  • that would be cool. bing images are allways very nice.
  • But, with animations❕❕
  • Also with animations, like Bing.
  • battery killer. and... really? i like my phone to be personal, but its doesnt have to be moving. bit gimmicky imho
  • Did you say that about the glance screen?.. Probably.. But, you know what? There's people who still think the glance screen uses to much battery, and that it's dumb to have that on your device while it's off.... You know what they do? They don't use those features because in settings you can turn them off.. I think the green theme color is nasty looking, so I use red... You catch what I'm saying here❔
  • Animations is a good idea but it will make devices like 520 laggy.maybe for phones with higher power and ram.
  • Possibly... I suspect/speculate that it's not to big a deal though, and all devices would work fine with a simple graphic.. Maybe graphics could accelerate as time goes on, but I would think that 1gb ram devices would have no problem.. This is WP we're talking about... Android has this❕... But, if MS could achieve this with the 520/525/530 then those devices would definitely stand out on store shelves next to other low end Android devices....
    ............................
    Let's not forget that we already have this on the start screen with the music, and games hub, tiles, so it's not out of the question...
  • I'm thinking if someone screenshots a black page and use as start screen how it would be like? Or even worse white image as start screen and light background
  • That would be interesting... If you used a white background, with the light screen, it might completely white out your screen leaving it mostly blank... Think about it.. With background images there are no boarders, and text is white... The same with the dark theme and a black background... Weird, and I can't wait to fool around with it....
    .........................
    What would really be cool is if we could put some short animations as background images.. Maybe some high quality gif files or if our camera app would let us catch up to ten second clips... What if apps like Vine could plug into the start screen... I could see a setting in Vine asking "set clip as start screen background"... That would be a cool option..
  • Sounds racist. Rodney???!!
  • I'm not racist.. Your mom,, I had that white biach last night.... :-)
  • Wait, is that racist?
  • Impossible!
  • No, son... No its not....
  • Or a list of favorite vimeo or YouTube vids... That would be cool. Rotating 3D model of your current WP? I'd love that
  • There's really endless possibilities when you think of it... This is something that I've been thinking of for years..
  • If there was a possibility of playing an endless gif in the background would that not be a big drain on the battery?
  • I'm not worried about that.. Just like tap to wake there's always the possibility of it using more battery, and the more options used within determined how much more battery is used.. It all depends on how it is managed.... Everything supposedly uses more battery.. Quad Core chips, 1080p screens... It's never really a issue, and I don't see why we can't start looking past that....
  • The background animation idea sounds good, that is until you realize that it would kill your battery.
  • Really?... That's such a old, and played out thought... I thought this Quad Core processor, 1080p screen, and tab to wake was supposed to kill my battery... No.. It all depends on how these things are managed, and the frequency options that are put in place.... We should be past the point of thinking so static about battery drain... MS is better than that, and new features haven't cost us much noticeable battery drain ever... Just like tap to wake,,, if you don't like it, for whatever reason, then don't use it...
  • No. Its simply that you don't understand how the hardware works.
    Not being mean, but if you can't grasp the difference between a bursting CPU, and rendering moving images in real time, then you should stop taking the years you said you've spent thinking about this, and spend it reading a book or learning to code ;)
  • There's always someone like you who wants to get technical, and start post comments that are irrelevant to getting new features...
    And, I always say.... Screw all of that.. Android phones already do what you naysayer's always don't give WP credit for being able to achieve...
    .......................
    I already have a day job, and I'm not interested, yet, in learning how to code.. That's stupid for anyone to even bring up... We're not talking about some crazy, new, unheard of, far out feature here... We're talking about something that you can already see your WP device do if you look at the Music, and Games hub tiles... We just are asking for more of that, and to be able to control it with our own choice of animation,,, like Android fans have been doing for years... Not, the most advanced rocket science we're talking about here, and its extremely feasible... It's already there❕
    .............................
    But, as usual you guys bring up the same old argument.. Battery life... Microkia has done a pretty good job of managing that so far with my 1520, and if Google can pull it off then why can't MS?... Do you think MS is less capable?
  • Hmm how can you not expect for somebody to bring up a technical approach when what you are requesting does require CODE! and core power management amongst other tech nitbits? Just because android has it doesnt mean that it is optimized and also obiously WP does not have the feature so it would have to be coded, tested and optomized for battery link. Yes there are current animations for xbox and music I am sure that feature spread out to all app or some would equal battery drain. It is obviously being tightly mnaged by microsoft so it does not get out of hand. 
  • Everything on these devices require code.. What's new about that❔
    It works great on Android devices, And, I see it in action everyday. But, that's besides the point..
    .....................
    It's simple, and clear.. Animations are possible, and it would be a cool feature.. That's the bottom line.. Whether it would have to be added to the OS is a waist of time to talk about because that is obvious.. More battery usage is also obvious, but that is besides the point.. Like I said.. It's a cool idea, and other phones already have it, so it is possible... End of story.
    ...........................
    Some of you guys need to quit being so negative, short sighted, and set higher expectations for what WP can do.. If other OS's can do something then WP has the potential to do it better.. That's what I've seen from my experience using WP for almost 4 years... Stop looking at the platform, and MS, as less than iDroid, and expect more... Expect that anything is possible with WP❕
  • What's the point though? Nobody is asking for this and the benefits don't necessarily offset the real risk to battery life. Moving wallpapers WAS one of the cool things about early Android, but it's not a feature in high use whatsoever nowadays. Google hasn't updated these animations in years. Our platform is finally hitting maturity, I'd rather Microsoft spend their time building things into phones that customers can actually use rather than glitzy crap that serves no real purpose.
  • Customizing the background color would be pretty cool too, but using an image as a background is pointless because you can barely even see it. I think the customizeable tiles is a good idea.
  • The ideal way to do this would have been to use background image and then make the tile transparent. Or at least give us the ability to set the opacity of the tiles.  
  • That could work too. An animating background would also be pretty cool.
  • No. Metro design language is strictly AGAINST transparency unless absolutely neccesary. transparency was the age of vista.. were past that.
     
  • Yep
  • Desktop has transparency. It's not necessary but it's there. Some of the restrictions on the Modern design language are in the process of being relaxed - to make it less bland.
  • Yea.. One spot.. Taskbar.. Which shouldn't be in the first place, but its not an important text info box like tiles, metro is about priorities, making the foreground stick out and the background blend, transparency goes 100% against that.
  • Agreed, that would make it perfect to have an option of both. Either picture on the tiles, or a picture background with transparent tiles. If only...
  • All tiles transparent, as an option, would be my choice. No use having some tiles transparent and some not.
  • Don't know how to vote, as above, partially love it, partially dont?
  • Yeah.. That would be a cool second option..
  • i agree with u...if this kind of thing would happen then its great.....  
  • Exactly❕..... But you're right.. We need more than just black, and white... We should be able to use a grid full of careful picked colors.. But, why not just let us choose images, colors, and patterns for ourselves.. Some of us would come up with some pretty cool combos... We shouldn't be held back by others bad taste...
  • We want options, and we want them now!
  • I'm beginning to hate WPC❕❕❕.. Lol!
  • Rodney you are the one who won't stop replying to posts.
  • Black and white was all Michael Jackson needed. You need more thank Michael Jackson?
  • We don't like to see things as black and white. We're better than that.
  • Ignore NIST... He's from the DEEP south...
  • Southern California.
  • You wish you were bubbles the chimp.... You'd have MJ stick a banana in your a$$...
  • That's what your brain came up with?
  • Lol...... Yes:'(
  • You really have nothing to do do ya? :D man you are everywhere.
  • My job is to play on my phone all day, listen to my radio, and wait.. That's what they want me to do, so I don't complain... And, that seriously is what my job is.. I might work on average 20 min. a day.. Weird?
  • Weird? Nope. Underqualified, that's all.
  • I think if tiles grouping and with image background like Win8 could be great
  • True that I agree with you and the info on the live tile won't be visible. So, no love fom me for this one.
  • It would look awesome if all of the tiles allowed it. But those ones that dont make the start screen ugly glad its just an option though. They should have just allowed background images and let users adjust the transparency of ALL tiles in the settings.
  • They can. Its up to the developers to change their app icons to have transparent backgrounds (ever notice how some app tiles don't match your phones theme color? Same issue!)
  • You are just proving my point. Lol not all developers are going to update their app to allow it lol...hence not all tiles that you pin to your start screen are going to have part of the background picture you choose...thus that tile is going to stick out like a sore thumb and your whole start screen ugly as fcuk....this new feature is definitely a step in the wrong direction...good intentions just bad implementation.
  • Not at all ! Infact I'm really impressed by it. Thinking about what you said, it'd look cool to have a couple of tiles with their own colours, really cool, contrary to what you said. It would add a sense of multiple designs to it, not a monotonic one. I think you should use it before making up your mind, its gonna be mind blowing !
  • I agree
  • Totally agree!
  • You tell him to try it before making up his mind, yet youve already decided its "mind blowing"... odd. Also, why would anyone want their start screen to look like its a wretched amalgamation of "multiple designs" that is the exact reason why iOS 7 looked so awful. Microsoft needs to make ALL icons play properly with this effect or it will look like garbage
  • Developers can actually set their app tiles background colour in code rather than using an image that has the background in it. I believe if the developer set the background colour in code it may get removed for the parallax effect :)
  • How do we know that one of the reason that all apps have to be recompiled in WP8.1 is so that the background image will take precedence?❔.. We don't.. So lets just wait before we start saying this is going in the wrong direction...
  • ^ Here is someone talking sensibly and not just posting without thinking
  • It looks awesome but I still want to be able to change the background colors. (Not with images because that's silly). That would make it even more awesome and it should also effect background color in the app list of course.
  • Agree.. If people with bad taste want to use a image, and f### up their start screen, let em... That shouldn't ruin it for the rest of us.... Hey, maybe that's a feature of Lumia Blue❕❕❕
  • I love it too, I still welcome a windows8-like background though!
  • Windows 8-like background? Really? You understand the difference in the screen sizes, don't you? You have plenty of screen size on W8, whereas on your phone, the tiles cover the majority of the screen. You will only see bits and pieces of an image on WP8.
  • windows 8 doesn't use an image really it's just a theme
  • Love gimme gimme
  • Like the parallax effect, don't like the skinned tiles.
  • Meh I dont think Ill use it but good for others who likes it.
  • I actually really like it. They pulled off the skinned tiles very well. I love it
  • Yeah the thing that did it for me was the parallax! Without that it would have looked tacky. It's really starting to grow on me :D So excited for 8.1!!
  • 100% agree without the parallax it would look weird! Now I'm 75% on board not sure if I will use it but the option is great.
  • Agree. But mostly probably I will not use it
  • Everything is good but I. Still want a different color background other than black or white hopefully we will get some more choices
  • Agree
  • This is gonna be a huge pullover for iOS users, they're gonna consider switching to wp ! (leave android fanboys alone, they still go gaga over every new stupid launcher which doesn't do anything.
  • You don't really believe that do you? Apple can do no wrong in most iOS users minds and something as insignificant as this surely wouldn't be the WP feature that they would jumb ship for. Don't forget about the woeful app situation with WP.
  • i hear more and more everyday from iphone users that it is the last iphone they will buy.
  • What do you hear as far as the reasons they give? Do you hear the same about Android? I'm curious.
  • I was right there agreeing with you. Up to the stupid "woeful app situation" comment.
  • Why is that a stupid comment? It's what's killing W8 & WP8 sales relatively speaking.   
  • there is much work to do, but it is much improved and improving by the day. i disagree that it is "killing" wp. the os is growing steadily around the world, so its definetly not dying.
  • It isn't that woeful. I've been loving wp since i bought my Lumia, and don't really care that i dont have an official pocket app and have to use third party ones, and some other apps being in the same situation. Apple does make nice phones, nice ui with an eye for minor detail, but..somewhere it does get boring... And apps surely aren't THAT big an issue, people often keep android tabs with them, they can use all the apps in the world on them.
  • I am currently using a lumia 925 as my smartphone and an iPad Air as my tablet. having tried both of the systems I would change my lumia for an iPhone in a heartbeat...so many low quality apps,so battery hungry,so little options...Bluetooth and good looks is not enough for me.i want a device that can last through the day and do everything I want without going at 50 C temperatures...
  • Baterry hungry? What are you talking about. The iPhone definitely has a worse battery than any Lumia. Check if you don't have a defective unit or too many background tasks. With regards to the apps. There are plenty of high quality apps on wp8, and low quality apps are present on ios as well. I don't miss any apps at all because even when the official app for something is not available. There is always a great third party alternative.
  • I was a long time iPhone user ( upgrading from the original right through to the 5 and the battery life on all of them was awful, had to charge them 3 times a day, the 5 being the absolute worst ) i switched from the 5 to lumia 1020 which lasts a full day on one charge, i would never go back to the iPhone , the only times my 1020 gets hot is when i'm running out of data with my carrier ( the data connection runs slow when running out of data and the 3g chip works harder ) and i had the same issue with every iPhone 
  • Troll, move on... This is not a place for you. Even my kid knows how hungry is any iOS device for battery.
    My 920 last 24 hours with Whatsapp, Telegram, Yahoo mail, Live email, games, some photographies, all running and working.
    Apps ? Yeah right, take those 700k something in your Phone or pad. I've got all my needs covered with WP store.
  • I know certain Apple fans that would rather die before getting a WP. Android users might come to WP but IOS users are stubborn as hell!
  • Nothing but love
  • Love it,,
  • Or List it
  • like it!
  • Love it Posted via the Awesome windows phone central app.
  • I think its unique, just wish it came with custom background images that the user could add for that truly custom touch.
  • If you read the first post about this, it mentions that you can use images from OneDrive, Facebook, or your camera roll.
  • Yeah, I agree Some photos can result chaotic, but maybe if you use one like the W8 wallpaper, it would be great!!!
    Don't you think so?
  • I love it !
  • It seems pretty awesome. My only concern is how many application tiles will support it (hopefully more than just system apps).
  • Apps which use the accent colour as the tile colour should allow it
  • Change your tile accent colour, any apps/tiles that change colour will support this
  • No. Apps use solid brushes and .jpg files for tiles. They will not magically become transparent, nor should they.
  • Not true. We can use .png files with transparent parts to show accent color
  • Yes, but 99% apps do not since there is no native support for png and the memory cost is too high. Try this: change your accent color and see how many tiles change their color immediately.
  • ...which is exactly what he was saying. =/
  • I am talking about live tiles, not .xap packaged app tile pngs - how are they interesting?
  • Well, first off, it's very easy to add PNG support, lots of nugets that include it. Second, it will be natively supported in WP 8.1.
  • Many of them are on .png if you didn't notice tiles changing colours when you change your accent colour.
  • Not live tiles, no. Sure, static app tiles change, but as I said, most people care about how live tiles react, right?
  • My wish would be that ALL tiles were transparent, then I would love this.
  • I imagine there will be new APIs to support the photo tile feature.
  • Wish that image extended to all apps list.
  • Just love the parallax idea, awesome!
  • I think it will look better on store shelves than just the plain tiles.. I hope carriers take advantage of the new background option.. I'm sure they will.. Actually, carriers, and OEMs should be loading their own default image on the start screen... This changes a lot as far as the initial perception that potential new WP user will have of devices on store shelves.. I think that has failed to be mentioned, and that is what's really important here...
  • i agree with you on this. it refreshes the look of wp, and will draw peoples eye more.
  • Right !! Blue does get monotonous for the normal user to see, and the nice wallpapers on s4/s5 look attractive to them. It should change now.
  • Exactly my point..
  • Yeah, I think WP devices currently don't stand out the consumer enough.. The colorful bodies help in some cases, but what's on screen can look to bland, especially with at&t's boring blue, and ugly orange tiles... Verizon isn't to bad, using the red tiles, but those devices could benefit from using BG images as well..
  • I gotta agree with you. WP is too much "myself" (not the exact word but you got my point) and needs some flexibility, which I hope WP8.1 will help bring, be it the custom choice of themes for carriers, or makers,much important, especially when competing with other OSs. However, i believe it shouldn't (if it ever happens) deviate too much from the native WP style because WP's uniqueness and belongingness are what we all are fan of ;)
  • Yep!!! WPC should do a story on how the background images will change WP's presence on store shelves next to iDroid devices.
  • Agree. At the end of the day, marketshare, user reliability and most important, MARKETTING are what all efforts are put for. And background graphics play an important role to catch consumer's eye, be it in stores or TV ads. I mean, right now, as far as I've noticed the live tiles best match with "Lumia" devices only unless the devices are "colored" and made by other OEMs. Ask anyone (who's not a tech savvy and knows nothing about mobile OSs) which looks better, a monostyled live tiles layout or forever changing widgets that can just put anything you want on the screen (I'm not a droid fan though, I hate it). They'll in no time support spydroid, unintentionally. MS has to realize this ASAP and enable background graphics and other customizations. When talking about marketting, I always have a negative feeling for Microkia. The TV ads (at least here in India) won't show the most amazing features of Lumia. I just won't go a feet beyond Cameras. I love Nokia and I love Microsoft. But to a normal consumer, Same-sung phone ads are way too much tempting to get their hands on it. Nokia should do the same or more.
  • Perfectly said... I agree.. Marketing has been Microkia's biggest let down...
  • NOooo Verizon will put more branding on their phones! Lol but seriously this could be good or bad, at least you can change it :P
  • It can't be any worse than att's sorry WP start screen that they use on every device.. Customers think that's what it always is going to look like.. I'd say that there's gonna be more good, than bad, come out of this..
  • Won't know till I try it.
  • Is the 920 gonna have that start screen with skinny tiles?
  • Yes. If you select the 'show more tiles' option. More info http://www.wpcentral.com/windows-phone-81-video-reveals-startscreen-parallax-view
  • Awesome! Thnx
  • Htc 8x has 4.3 screen but with higher res, wonder if its compatible for more tiles..
  • Actually its lower Lumia 920 has a WXGA (1280x768)
    while the HTC has a 720p (1280x720)
  • What i mean is the screen size of the htc 8x. Its only 4.3 with slightly higher ppi compared to 920's 4.5. So, is 8x capable to have more tiles?
  • I don't think this is correct Sam.  You can get the parallax view with the 920 without selecting the option for more tiles.  (3rd row).  It can still have 2 rows with parallax.    This is a small victory for me as I will not use 3 columns with the 920 or future 930 because there is no option to stretch a tile across the screen that has 3 columns.
  • Looks terrible
  • I agree with this as well
  • I like it... Don't love it... Wonder if some other approach was possible ?
  • A ton of other options were possible, the first being the unification of the UX with Windows, meaning a background picture with tiles on top and a colour pallet for the tiles/UI.
  • With the wallpaper in the all apps list too.
  • A bit weird, an acquired taste I guess...
  • Love it can t wait
  • I just like it, I was hoping for a background images with keeping the tile accent colour.
  • Not for me. I'll be using what we currently have but if others like it great for them.
  • Its great to have such features, many people are going to be attracted.
  • I think with a bit or creativity we can do a lot with this feature. First that I can think of is completely customizable colors for live tiles, possibly even creating gradients. I don't think a busy image will look good, but I think there's a possibility to do something cool and unique
  • ....meh
  • It looks so good.
  • Love it.
  • Love it with my whole body, even my pp.
  • Lol
  • Very new and different way to get your image on the home screen! Great thinking! What good would having a standard old school background image be anyway? The tiles would cover it...
  • I love love love it!!!!!!
  • There's no reason to hate it. It's only an option. If you don't like it, don't use it.
  • Exactly. More choice for those who want it, and the ability to turn it off for the purists.
  • exactly
  • I wasn't sure about the ability to change backgroud images on WP but now I am. This parallax view just made me want to try WP 8.1 ASAP!!!
  • Lol!!! I think it has turned into my new favorite feature.. This OS just keeps on giving❕❕❕
  • This is just amazing ....i want it so badly
  • Optional right? So can't hate that
  • I hate how many people comment on these things 'But will work on Lumia 520????!? plz rply.'
  • Obviously it will work don't u consider 520 as windows 8 phone ,..microsoft has to make change in every device
  • You didn't understand what I wrote. Try again.
  • Don't count on it.....not working on the 520. ;)
     
  • What you did there...It was seen by me.
  • Much passive.
    So like.
  • Wow.
  • I would like taller tiles not just more tiles. And icons along with live tiles.
  • Icons? You mean like iOS and Android?
  • Yes or a new type icon with live tiles.
  • Love cos it seems faster
  • Love it.
  • Meh
  • Love it
  • I really like what I'm seeing so far. A different implementation of "Background image" just makes the WP that much more unique.
  • Love the window effect alot.
  • I bet it will be a resourse and battery hog and will make many of the tiles unreadable or hard to read.  Waste of time, code, and thus storage space.  And it looks really dumb with only some of the tiles transparent.
  • Yes yes yes this... Unless when the tile flips over its just like it was... How will Bing news app look next to this ?
  • Please come back when you have a clue what you're talking about. This is a very rudimentary texture mapping technique using the GPU that is practically free, and uses the exact same amount of resources as if you put the image behind the tiles instead of on the tiles. It's totally fine if you personally don't like it, but there's no need to piss in the pool for everyone else who does, since it's optional.
  • Thanks for that comment, it was needed.
  • The parallax effect... I'm in!
  • I initially hated the idea of putitng the start screen image on the tiles, just because it would seem cluttered with the Tile info, tile icon, and tile image.
    But fter seeing that video... it looks pretty cool. I'm kinda "meh" about it, but I think better of it now.
  • Imagine putting a weather radar on that start screen, like the lock screen.
  • Might look really cool if like a weather app could could use animation backgrounds whenever it updated the weather. Like if it's raining outside a weather app could make it look like it was raining outside the windows/tiles and a sunny day have sunray animations. They can really do alot more with the skinned tile concept. Think I'm sold, there is alot of potential to be creative with this.
  • Love it
  • Nothing but love.
  • Like it. But not able to vote from the WPCentral app. The link says wp does not support these files?
  • Read the article....
  • The article clearly states at the bottom that you cannot vote from within one of their spps
  • I like it put hopefully you can turn off the paralax effect. Using iOS7, that got me sick lol
  • Love it, they brought people what they wanted without compromising the UI language, in all honesty having a background is pointless (go ahead and argue the app list bit... yea.. that bit youll spend like maybe 3 minutes in a day?) theres also the uniqeness, it makes WP's UI stand out as a unique UI, which the mobile platform really seems to have a huge issue with today, hell, you could jailbreak and ios and make it look almost exactly like an android at first glance, and of course its insanely easy to make android look like ios, that imo is a clear issue, UIs are the heart of any device, and should be uniquely so for each.
  • I'm loving it, can't wait to try this and other new features on my 1520!!! 
  • Love
  • L-U-V it! Seems refreshing 
  • Love!
  • I'll tell you when I can see it on my phone and play with it.
  • Please take a look at this, https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=70930046F430C44C!24758&authkey=!ADBPnbS7C-UNljg&v=3&ithint=photo%2c.png This is what i want, real background with a slider to transparent the live tiles to your wishes.
  • It's fine, we're going to use what they gonna give us.
  • Yesss, thats what i hoped for
  • Its all about taste and choices, and for me this is a no,no. Kinda looks 90's, but thats just me....
  • this would be nice as a third option!
  • This. I don't see any reason to limit the OS to just one form of home screen customization. Besides, I think the current implementation is kind of messy, but I'll make the final judgement after I've used it for a while.
  • This is the best option which is in line with win8 and metro design.this with grouping and sorting apps would look great.
  • maybe theres an option whether you want to make your tiles completely transparent to make it look like in the video or turn off the transparency to make it look like the one in the link you gave.
  • Here a mockup of that same idea that you can put you own image behind, choose your own tile color and set the transparency ---> http://www.infinitebinary.com/WP8/wp8.html  The skinnery thing they are giving us is better than nothing, but backgroud images behind would have been far better.
  • Picture in the background wouldn't make sense. You wouldn't see it. I like it on the tiles.
  • Without forgetting that it would look Androish
  • I'm only just assuming, but I think some were wanting to remove all tiles and have a blank home screen with just a background. Which I dont get, but to each their own
  • So lets see they wanted a glance screen picture, a lock screen picture and an empty Start screen for a third picture.  People are weird!  
  • I think the picture option is annoying but if you could make certain be certain colors, that would be neet.
  • Love it...when I get it!
  • It's beautiful
  • It looks really good can't wait to actually have it and personalize it myself.
  • Looks ok but not that important to me, probably stick with the current options.
  • I need it! NOW!!!
  • Looks cool, but wished Windows Phone UI was elegant. Eye popping, professional, not so plane. I think Metro is getting old.
  • Never gets old.
  • I just wish the background could be something other than white or black...
  • Not getting old until ms refresh it in next update.sarch for neocom wp concept in google.
  • Didn't think I would, but so far I do.   Looking forward to pretty much never getting this from T-Mobile!
  • dev preview.. never be at the mercy of the carrier again!
  • Love it
  • It depends on what picture do you use.
    Some photos can result chaotic, but maybe if you use one like the W8 wallpaper, it would be great!!!
  • Dislike, sorry. I expected something better.
  • You're gonna use it at the of the day, I'm sorry
  • LOL
  • Love it as it's optional and even if i dont end up using it, its still good for the OS to have more options like this.
  • I'm loving it!
  • Nothing but hatred & loathing from me on this feature.
  • With the new parallax effect and the ability to choose which tiles to make transparent or not, this is addition is really going to be the icing on the cake on top of all the new features added with the 8.1 update. This is huge. Windows Phone is really going to take off this year by leaps and bounds. Great job Microsoft.
  • I can't say I love it, I like it.
    I'm happy that we can get more accent colors by selecting a solid background!
  • That's not a start screen, that's a mess..
  • No! This is Wp8.1
  • And also an option.
  • Luvvv it
  • It's nice that it's configurable, so users can set up their start screen how they like. Personally, I see photo backgrounds etc. on my start page as a distraction. I do like being able to configure tiles to specific colors, though. One thing bothers me: why doesn't MS itself play by the WP design language and allow the Live Tiles of MS apps (like Music) to have the user's choice of tile color? Why force users to have a green background for the Music tile?  You would think that MS would let their apps takek the msot advantage of the overall UI experience. I wish MS would give more attention to functionality, though, rather than aesthetics.  Maybe they've taken care of these issues in 8.1. So often I read developers' explanations of the shortcomings of their apps: "it's a limitation of the OS."
  • I personally want the Music tile to have the old effect where it kept showing the last artist you played after the music stopped.  I want everyone who goes through my phone to know that I listen to Madonna!  HAHA!  :D
     
  • Yes ^^THIS^^ Obviously not madonna though:/s
  • :D
     
  • the keep all there "xbox" branded apps green to drive home that its an xbox title... mcirosoft has an obsession with xbox.. i hate... zune was a much better music player name
  • I didn't realize that green was the xbox color. Now I dislike the green even more. Nothing against xbox... I'm just not a gamer and would rather my music experience be an unbranded, high-quality music experience. Whenever I enter the Music app, I feel like Microsoft is trying to sell me their xbox service, which doesn't interest me in the slightest. I always buy an app if an ad-free version is available. I feel like the standard Music app in WP is a come-on for their service.
  • Whether you like it or not is irrelevant. Though we can all agree that having the option is better than not having the option.
  • Its an option. I like options.
  • Love
  • Itching to have black color tiles(i.e) tile background.
  • You can do that currently. settings > ease of access > high contrast.  If you choose the light theme the tiles will be black on white BG
  • It would be great if within the photo selection setting, they had a "gaussian blur" effect option that would alter the image selected and create that really neat look in the first picture of this article. As an option of course, since there could be nice portrait photos that would look awesome without any blur effects.
  • It is certainly a unique way to have a background.  Much more usable than putting an image in the whitespace, because the tiles cover up practically ALL of the background anways.   But part of me thinks that this goes against the whole principle of WP8 design, which is clarity in the delivery of content, which is why a totally flat design approach was adopted.  Flat is definitely the way to go (iOS and Android are finally seeing the light and copying) but this is the first piece of WP UI that breaks the flat design principle.  
     
  • I don't mind more options. And I also like the concept shared above using the OneDrive link too (the tiles get transparent, the the background is visible). My main cnocern is parallax disable option and what happens if you keep scrolling to the bottom (say 3 pages). Does the parallax stop at some point or is the image zoomed in already? But there should be a breaking point. I guess I'll wait until its out.
  • It's not simply "more options" because they're not adding real backgrounds.
  • Agreed.I like the way it is now, though i would definitely love having more accent colours to choose from.This and the fact of having to swipe from the top to get to access the quick settings seems to break the whole experience.Why wouldn`t they make it as a swipe to the right from the Start screen??..More and more things are being done to convince people to switch IMO..parallax,swipe to close apps and so on,even if they do not give the user a constant experience across the OS..feeling meh.. Would n`t hate seeing the way it is on the desktop,if i had to choose between both,would choose an animated background wallpaper rather.
  • Love it!
  • I always wondered how background images would be on wp. (creepy) but wp team managed to make it look beautiful. I love the parallax view man.
  • Isnt Shining Themes able to do the same thing?
  • It doesnt have the parallax view. N once the tiles are custom made u hv to arrange it to get the correct order. hectic.!! n it keeps on running in the background, the tiles doesn't even show if there's some unseen notification. In brief, it lags a lot.
  • When I saw static screenies of the feature, I thought it was effing ugly, like Skinery. But the parallax scroll we can see in the video makes it looks gorgeous. I changed my mind and LOVE it so far! Cool!
  • I think it's ugly. But that doesn't mean that it shouldn't exist. I just think that we could have three options: Backgroung image Tiles background image Keep it like it is today In that way it could be fun for everyone IMHO.
  • Agreed.
  • Agreed
  • +928
  • It's a waste of time in my opinion. They should be working on all the shortcomings of Windows Phone before adding more exclusive features that get copied a day after release by other platforms.
  • Can't judge from a low quality Video, have to see & use it first before I say Yay or Nay. Got some ideas for it for later.
    Man, April 2nd can't come fast enough.
  • Hope you're not planing on getting your hands on 8.1 on the 2nd of April..
  • LoL ! Of course not.
    The suspense is killing me though , I Want To Believe ;)
  • I love it and the parallax image in the tiles was such a great call rather than having it be static
  • Interesting but inconsistent. I would have preferred a solution which visually complimented Windows 8.1.
  • Love it!!!!!!!
  • Don't hate it but I like mine best. Its one of the things that caught my eye in the 1st place. Sure wish I could keep it as is.
  • I'm pretty certain you can. This is effectivley the unlimited color color picker that WP was always missing, just screen shot the color you like, and it can be your background. Presents some cool options that way too, like all black and white, etc. 
  • I like it, but it would be more nice if also fill the applications section with the image.
  • I love it, and I want it now!!!
  • Love it loveee it
  • Love it.
  • Looks Good
  • Windows, like looking out of a window literally. Guess it make sense.
  • Sam, will three column support 925? :|
    Thanks :)
  • Yeah. 'Show more tiles'.
  • What about the 720??
  • Yep. ALL windows phone 8 phones will get it.
  • It's okay. I still prefer some of the alternative concepts out there with the tiles, with slight transparency, resting on top of the background.
  • +1
  • Damm, I was reply to a upper post
  • First I thought the the Image moved with the tiles like the actual tiles colors were replaced with a chunk of the picture.  I thought that was lame and decided while its good to have options I wouldn't use it.  After seeing this video though?  THAT WAS COOL!!!  I didn't realize it was being implimented in that way.  I love it.  
  • It was cool, but has also makes quick glances much more difficult. :/
  • From all the solutions possible, they went with the worst one. Big disappointment. The only thing this allows to properly do is put a completely black background and have all black tiles. I'll keep using Skinnery. Hopefully they'll open the other missing app tiles to customization. And still no accent colour picker...in this area, try again Microsoft. Also, the lack of a real background picture like on Windows 8 is yet another missed opportunity to unify more WP and Windows.
    So much for the "One experience for everything in your life". 8.1 was starting to look way too good to be true. I knew they'd screw up somewhere. Pity.
  • yea yea why everyone cares about putting a picture where they cant see i have no clue..
  • "Where they can't see it" depends on the way you personalize your start screen you know?
  • Windows 8.1 has a lot more empty space. On WP the tiles cover the whole thing, so doing the same thing wouldn't work. Skinning the tiles is how you can actually see the picture. And putting it on the tile and the background would make the parallax effect look a lot less cool.
  • Again, WP can have the exact same amount of empty space. Not everyone fills the screen with tiles. Some people leave gaps, others don't even fill the first page of the screen with the tiles. If you put a background on Windows - where you can also have the screen filled with tiles to the point where a picture is useless - you should put them on WP too IF you really want to unify the experience.   Skinning the tiles with this parallax effect may look cool on video but it's pretty horrible in practice. All you need is a picture with some whites and puff, the icons appear and disappear. I'm not saying they shouldn't include the parallax option. I'm fine with MORE options. I certainly won't use this just like I won't use a 3rd row of tiles on a screen with less than 5".
    But this is definitely not what the users wanted when they asked for images and more accent colours. Actually, it's the opposite. It's a gimmick that is there just for the sake of being different but that doesn't allow the user to really personalize the UI colours (for I highly doubt this will have the "ambience" tech found in Jolla phones where the phone reads the picture and adjusts the accent colour appropriately.
  • Love it. I'm really looking forward to this release. Hopefully we will get the preview in a couple of weeks!
  • Love!
  • It looks great. Any type of customization without the use of an app is appreaciated.
  • Its good but Still a lot of space will be unoccupied..
  • I like it. Just need to find the right background image to use tho
  • Looks faster
  • Nice! I like where it's going so far. I like how the chosen background image scrolls with the tiles at a different speed to give it a parallaxed sense of depth.. like in old-school 2D video games.
  • So into it!!
  • Love it. Nicely done MS. Prepping epic Akuma Raging Demon stance pic to use one dev preview is made ready. :)
  • Like it, don't love it.
  • Must be true love! I want it so bad! Damn you MS!!
  • I don't see why they can't make the live tile spin when the device is held horizontally. I'd also like to see live wallpaper like on android. It would also boost app numbers. At least have the options.
  • Kinda cool. Does make some of the tiles less noticeable though. Since it's optional I'm for it.
  • I say yes! I love it!
  • It´s a nice gimmick and the best is that it is optional, so not everbody must use ist :)
  • I think it looks great. I can't wait to all of the new features for 8.1
  • As it is shown here I would love it. But I think I'll wait until I have the update on my phone to make a final decision. Only then you can see if it's good when using the phone or not.
  • Love it. Can't wait
  • As long as I can do the black/white theme without the "ease of access" work around, I'm happy
  • Simply wow...i just love it!!!!
  • I dig it.... Here's to hoping there's an automatic background switcher that will rotate through images, like my lock screen does. I have like 90 images on onedrive I randomly switch through.
  • Yes.. And, if they open this up to developers then we will see start screen apps similar to the ones available for the lock screen..
  • Awesome. Different to other phones, why i have a lumia
  • So developers will have no control on the transparency of the tiles it seems
  • Yes they will.
  • Hmm..Thats good to hear.. However it would be fun to try out as a user :)
  • Right now I'm not fond of it... I get that there's limited space in the back for a proper wallpaper but still I would have liked that better. Maybe I'll like it when it's on my phone. But for the moment I'm glad it's optional
  • Love it
  • Not a fan, but nice to see another option. I'd rather have transparent tiles and change the background. I feel like this is going to look kinda weird when half your tiles show a background image then other apps like Facebook, Weather apps, etc use their own tile theme.
  • Agree, agree and agree! Picture in background, like on W8 would have been better. Or we should've had the choice between the two, if any at all.
  • Picture in the background is dumb ass for me as the tiles will cover it.   Agree that all tiles should be transparent otherwise it looks half done.
  • YES and NO   if the background wont apply to all tiles then No i don't like it, if the background will apply to all tiles then YES i love it  
  • Yep, simple really.
  • How hard is it to record in landscape!?
  • Set a screenshot of a background-less start screen as THE background, down a six-pack and prepare for a WP Inception experience.
  • LOL
  • I like it
  • Will require support of png for tile display from a dev perspective, which is not supported today. You can roll your own png format, but it eats memory, and therefore is not usually done from background tasks. Assuming that support is provided, without any memory incursion in the background task, devs would have these choices for the background of a tile: a) a solid color (typically the theme background) b) an app defined image (e.g. weather-based, news article and so on), c) the png transparent look. Out if the box, apps wil not support it without changes.
  • You've got any apps that respect the accent colour? Then those apps don't have be changed at all. Devs don't need to add anything which is "not supported today". Just letting the colour of the tile respect the accent colour will make this happen.
  • I am a dev and the only way to 'respect' the accent color, is to use .png to save your tile image. Unfortunately Microsoft were so kind as to not support png in the SDK, so your have to do it yourself, which eats background task memory. Try this: change accent color and see how many apps immediately change color in their live tile. I am betting its mainly the built in apps. That's how many use png.
  • Apps that uses the Iconic tiles and tiles that uses png files packaged with the xap will work out of the box. Dynamically generating the png for tile updates is the issue, but as of today, many many apps use iconic templates (skype, facebook messager, instagram, 6snap) or a prepackaged transparent tile image (dev center, here city lens, etc)
  • The app tile is if course easily set to png. That's not really the issues though, its support within live tiles that will make a difference. That will require changes because of todays lack of png support.
  • I didn't state that setting the tile to a png is the issue. I stated that generating the png is what the issue is (which I inferred from your initial comment.) Also, there is no png support issue with live tiles as far as I know. They've been supported since day 1 release of WP7. It seems that your real gripe is with a lack of a simple and/or built in way of generating png files. Back to the original point of my response, most if not all of the average user's live tiles that use the accent color will work fine out of the box due to the nature of Iconic tiles and prepackaged PNGs. The ones that won't are generated CUSTOM bitmap tiles used in some weather apps but many other devs also have also implemented working apps that generate custom png tiles fine. In short, only a few apps would need work. Please don't make this sound like a much bigger deal than it is.
  • But packaged png tiles are not live, which you are claiming here They are merely the app tile required to accompany your app, they are dead. Custom tiles, as you call them, are live tiles that will cause the problem since the SDK only supports SaveToJpg from a WriteableBitmap. Using png is almost never done due to this lack of support. I used png once in my app and removed it due to lack of memory. The WPCentral app avoids it for the same reason. And so on. So to get live tiles (not dead ones) to support it, yes, will need some changes.
  • They can be live even if they're packaged. For instance, wifi connection tiles only need an on and off png image. Also, they can be live via push notification and server side png generation. This may not be feasible for all but its possible.
  • Agree with push scenario. But everything else live requires the dev to draw the image, and push is like .1% of live tiles. Its pretty clear to me, if devs do nothing most tiles in your screen will remain solid. Makes sense, that's the intention.
  • I love it. I thought I was gonna hate it but after seeing it in action I actually love it. I can't wait to try it next week!
  • I love it...
  • Its great
  • It's good to have options but this is pretty meh for me.
  • We need customisation, not individualisation. Theme colour groups, themed tiles basic features, at least a command for double tapping, and a bit more flexible and maybe just visually-wise grouping possibilities.
  • Oh, and far more important: a landscape supported start screen.
  • Would like to see this, though not top priority.
  • I hope the dev preview is released April 2nd. Its my day off
  • Love it :D really hope the update come soon :)
  • Ugly
  • I already do this with apps. What I really wanted was ability to get rid of the lines between tiles. I probably will stick with skinery and similar apps.
  • @sam is there a chance wp8.1 allows more theme in final build??
  • Yes yes yes yes take my Money !!! Microsoft & Nokia
  • It's a free update, but I'll take your money.
  • Love it! I hope we have the option to turn all tiles transparent for consistency. The negative space the tiles create for the background image looks great. I'm glad they went this route vs a background image which asthetically would have been a mess. The negative space still adheres to metro/windows desgin feel. Its unique.
  • I like it, anything that gives us more options is better then the plain old black or white background.
  • Kinda takes the simplicity and charm away from WP... options are good nonetheless
  • I don't like it really, I feel like if I was to use a simple repeated pattern as the background it would look good but a regular images of me and friends would look shitty. I'm glad we now have the option though.
  • I didn't like it at all, still wish if WP 8.1 did follow the windows 8.1 in this area where the background is behind the tiles and a little bit blurred
  • I love changes, n wp8.1 has everything to bring a smile on each and every wp user right from 520 to 1520 user or Samsung or htc user
  • Of course, just love it......!!!
  • Love it
  • If only the parallax effect showed info from the live tile which scrolls
  • Really like what I've seen so far. There is always a danger of diluting the unique WP design language when allowing too much customization options. This seems to be a good compromise.
  • Either you guys spend a lot of time in photoshop, or you have Windows Phone 8.1. 
  • Thumbs up from me..
  • This is beautiful. All I'm opposed of is the removal of OS integration I became so found of.
  • I think the idea is cool, but the key will be finding that perfect background that compliments your tile layout.
  • True. But that's up to ourselves to pick the right background. 
  • I was hoping for it to sync with desktop PC, but maybe later.
  • I personally love it. People who don't like it just switch to android because this is something unique and I know I will blow my friends minds when I show them this. I love what is innovative, new, etc.
  • Well it's not really a new Start screen as it remains the same, what i do like is the customisations that can be done to the Start screen and i will like it more if all the apps support the new customisations and not just a few.
  • I don't see why people complain, I don't feel it needed to be a feature, but apparently others did. I'd never use it, I love my bright colored tiles that match my phones' exterior color. But for all the people who complained because they wanted to always look at a customizable background of a picture of their kids or whatever (like ugly iOS & Android), can now do that. Heck, it even looks better than the way iOS and Android have their apps over their background. MS managed to do it in a more beautiful, innovative, fresher way.
  • Like you said you dont feel the need to customize. So you wouldnt understand the complaint. However I wish to customize my device with a wallpaper. And this tile paper is not what I had in mind. I want Microsoft to stop being so inconsistent, they did a great job with Windows 8.1!   And a regular wallpaper would have looked very nice. Very proffesional. Wish is more than I cansay for these tile papers. Here is the alternartive: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6P-uXwG-18
  • the alternative "beachscape" looks hideus tbh. it doesn't make sense.
  • Why doesnt it make sense? Its the look of Windows 8 as well. Imo it looks much cleaner.
  • I think that all apps that already support colored tiles that match your theme, will automatically support this new picture tile theme.
  • Personally I'd like to see the following options: 1. Current Color Setup 2. Complete Colorless Setup (for example see the Colorless Live Tile in Simple Calendar) 3. The Set up in the article (providing that once you pin ANY live tile with this option selected, it gets those colors)   I say that because it looks disjointed visually where most of the tiles have the parallax look and then the MSFT tiles have their traditional look.
  • Meh, I'll keep the flat color
  • Mee too ;-) Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • I like the option but I'm not sold on this particular execution.  I'm gonna give it a try, but from the looks of things, I doubt I'll use it. I'm solidly in 'meh' mode.
  • Great!
  • I love the new startscreen
  • Love it
  • I do love it, WP has no too much space for images behind live tiles. So this is a good choice to experience something different between the PC and the phone. ;)
  • I liked the no background image, but that's just me i know some friends that wanted to have a BK image insted of the metro look.
  • I like it. 8.1, go MS
  • I think it looks cool kind of like looking through a window
  • Its gonna be a huge fail if you can't make ALL icons transparent. This forced icon color on WP is dumb. I realize it will probably be up to the developers, but that's not enough. Some are just lazy and it actually seems like alot of native Apps force icon colors. Make it up to the user!
  • All icon transparent? Nice possibility but rather boring to me.
  • Love it
  • Honestly I think more people will love it....like those who hate it haven't actually seen it in action! I thought the Icon was hideous from online photos and its actually really pretty! So perhaps when you can tinker and get the right photos more people will be believers because I doubted it at first
  • Sweet
  • You dont have to use this... So it don't matter
  • The picture effect looks nice, but I'd still like a color picker for accent colors.
  • It's an option, that can only be good. I may or may not like it after trying it. So far it looks cool, I've got some great SciFi pics, or Kate Uptons, I'd love to use.
  • Love it!
  • Awsome
  • Can't wait!
  • The mother of dragons Kaleesi is gonna look nice on my home screen.
  • Looks good, now we must see the devices
  • I'm not opposed to it. I have mixed feelings so far. I'll have to play around to see how it looks. Then you'll get my real answer.
  • I'm excited about the more tiles option, the background won't be used by me.
  • Windows Phone is a living organism and we have the power to shape it with our cribbing and whining. I think that, what Microsoft has implemented here is far more sophisticated than what people hoped for. And still people want them to work backward. Hmmm, i think Microsoft should let the users decide if they want the wall paper over the tile, or behind it. it would be great if they give us the option to upload two images, one on the tile and one behind. That way, we can experiment with a few effects. For instance, use the same image for both, but blur one of them slightly.
  • I like it but I don't like the fact that some tiles don't support it. Having a big blue square in the middle of a beautiful image kind of defeats the purpose in my opinion
  • It's up to you how you make your start screen lol. Don't put that blue one there then lol.
  • Well now that's kind of a dumb reply. I've been using this OS for years, I'm well aware I can customize my start screen, I'm saying to have a few tiles that have the photo background on them, and then a whole bunch that don't is silly. If every tile supported the feature and you could see the photo through all of them as you scrolled down your start screen, it would provide a truely beautiful interface
  • No, you don't get it. The idea is to cluster a few transparent tiles so you can see a background there, and for the rest you have your filled tiles. If all tiles would be transparent, the tiles would have no place to show information, and become useless.
  • Its better than just some colors, but i hope that will work on all tiles, like the Onedrive tile on the pictures is still blue and the music is green !!!
  • Its fine
  • Mixed feelings tbh
  • Looks great, couldn't be better...
  • More options is great than you stock up with only one ...
  • Love
  • @Sam Can you clarify what happens for those tiles that flip with information? Are both sides transparent? Is there an an option to only have one side transparent? Or can flipping tiles not be transparent? I'm confused on that front?
  • Daniel Rubino said; "if a tile uses the Iconic layout, it will show the image behind the icon. If the tile uses a Flip layout, any area of the background that is transparent will show the background image."
  • Just let the user set the background image! We don't care if it's pointless or whatever we know that! And It's not your problem anymore!
  • I like it. Looks like a pretty cool effect. Its another option to make my screen unique and stand out from the android/iphone rows of icons.
  • I like it. I really don't see the pictures completely working behind the tiles. You will only get 20% of an image. In windows 8, yes because there's a lot more room, but on the phone. Nah.
  • Judging by the poll results, this subject is no where near divided. Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • i love it
  • Its disgusting looking :(
  • Seems innovative and something different than IOS, Andriod and Blackberry.
  • I just saw the video. What! I like it even more.
  • Love!
  • Its definitely an artistic approach to enhancing the look. May grow on me later, we'll see.
  • I actually don't mind it, kinda like the extra step in customization. It doesn't destroy the simplicity of the UI, if you choose the right background
  • I absolutely love it!! Good job, MSFT!
  • Neat feature.
  • I like it. More room for improved home screen personalization is always a good thing. This will give us more options and a better chance to be creative. Can't wait to see all the screen shots that will surely be forthcoming once we get 8.1 on our devices.
  • Personally not so much - I prefer a minimal design. However, more choices for more users is always good!
  • I love it.
  • Cortana on the home screen
  • Loooving it!
  • I think it's pretty cool. Obviously, just like with Glance screens, particular types of images will lend themselves to this application over others -- the one in the video earlier was a bad example. I also think that the parallax effect actually improves visibility of the icons over a potentially busy image. Also, like with so many of their choices, it's different than the obvious choice that the other platforms give. They could have just given backgrounds and be like Android and iOS but they've done something unique once more which is great.
  • My thoughts exactly. Parallax will definetely help in those cases where part of the BG image has white areas. It will look so Effing great <3 with the picture i'm using as Glance BG. omg. can't wait.
  • I don't "hate" it but I definitely don't like it either. I'll have to try it first to actually judge it. However, I'm really concerned by the approach. Yes, the parallax effect is "cool" and it's going to change the design a little. But that's exactly why Android is such a mess: having flying cupcackes on the screen doesn't make it look good.  I like WP because it's sober and clean. It's user friendly and easy on the eye. What's the point of having live tiles if you can't read them? Some tiles will be transparent and some won't? What about the legibility of the screen? "So cool! I have parallax effect but I can't read a shit out of my live tiles, much lol" People are still saying that having background image is stupid because we can't see them... well, I'd rather have my legible tiles sitting on a coloured (plain or not) background instead of this. Having a background colour would also expand to the app list which would be much better.  The idea is great, I'm not complaining about that. I just think, and it's a personal point of view, that it defeats the purpose of live tiles and make it really hard to read. And the lack of unity in the design is just... meh.  Still better than nothing though. However, some comments are saying that we should wait and test before we judge it. Well, saying it's awesome/wonderful/amazing is also judging without using for your information. Therefore, we can't say that we don't like it and would have wanted a different approach (like this one: http://s13.postimg.org/gpk5hk39z/Start_mockup.jpg) but it's fine to say it's great?  There's already an app to color the tiles with a picture. it's just the most non user friendly thing on earth... So, we'll see how the parallax actually fixes it or makes it worse. Wait and see.
  • i'm so tired of that mockup tbh. LET IT   DIE     ALREADY   ...ok, having the option would be nice for those who prefer it, but i'm in love with this implementation.
  • Love it, waiting
  • The picture tiles look worse than the normal tiles. It doesn't look bright and fun, unlike a real background with colorful tiles on-top. Try again.
  • use a bright and fun BG for the tiles then...
  • That is pretty freaking cool.
  • The freedom of choice is always the best answer, if they (Or nokia) added the ability of having this (and/either/or) background images that would provide us with great customisation choice
  • no file explorer  wp8.1 remains a poorly operating system . sucks microsoft and wp8
  • I like the system they are using for 8.1, I won't utilise it though. I'm quite happy with block colour.
  • I like it, just wish there was more consistency between Win and WP. Seems like with every new feature or update, we're getting farther away. The People hub on Win and WP are miles apart, and the Win version is severely lacking, for example. The Win People hub/app was most recently updated as part of Win 8.1 and lost live tile functionality for individual people pinned to Start...
  • Amazing.
  • This is a concept I made a while back, that I though looked great and is how I would want the background images to work: http://williamabradley.deviantart.com/art/Windows-Phone-8-1-Start-Screen...
  • I could get into that if there was an option to let apps change the background like they can the lock screen. Bing image of the day and a wallpaper switching app would be cool
  • What's there to hate? You could set different accent colors than currently available by taking photos of blank color charts.
  • I really don't like it...
  • Hate unless its optional
  • it is optional.
  • I love it!!
  • What's to hate, you don't have to use custom start screen images.
  • It's nice just wish there was more options
  • I am really liking it. Why have a WP if t does what the others do? This uniqueness of having the background image on the tiles is fresh, regradless if its only some of them. It brings something different and a cool background effect as well. It adds life to some boring MS apps.
  • I'm glad it is an option.  If done right (that is, with the right photo) you can have a cool looking Start screen.  In my opinion, it only works because of the parallax effect.  I can't wait to try it!  I'm just hoping you can customize both tiles and background.
  • I'll let you know after I've used it.
  • I'm okay with WP8.1 overlaying the image on the tiles. You can barely see the background behind the times anyways unless you have a bunch of gaps in between your tiles. I like the idea.
  • Can't say for sure until I have it, but I'm ready for love!  More is better so far as tile customization.  I have certain images that are meaningful to me and it's really nice to sometimes glimpse it while I'm distracted.
  • Loved it before the parallax, madly and deeply in love with it now. Showed it to an iSheep and his jaw dropped.
  • I'll have to try it myself, but I'm afraid most tiles will have their own image and will end up not showing the background properly. I believe it is possible to make it look good but you will have to be very very carefull with the photo that you choose, its colours and level of details in the photo so that you won't obfuscate the tiles icons and text. Another important thing: choosing the background colour (black or white) that will fit best your chosen image. Thinks it's over? You are wrong! The tiles should be arranged in a smart way, otherwise tiles that don't show your background photo will make your start screen a mess! Of course most people will not think carefully about all these details, but I assure you, if you ignore them you will destroy your start screen. I'm sure many will!
  • More options always better. I remember theme tiles on Windows Phone 7 thanks to Jaxbot (Windows Phone Hacker)!
  • People opposed to an option that doesn't have to affect them in any way are selfish idiots. There's no reason for divisions amongst readers.
  • I do like the new background idea but looking at the images provided and the video, only some tiles are transparent. Do you think Microsoft could make it so all tiles are transparent, not only a selected few?
  • Being optional, its perfect :)
  • Wow. So style! Very parallax!! Much doge!!! Wow.
  • I can honestly say I won't be using this feature but it's good to know that it is added in Windows Phone 8.1. The great thing about the WP OS is that it is customizable to what the user wants. That is one of the main reasons why I fell in love with WP, because I am allowed to customize the screen the way I want it to look (tile size, color, etc).
  • Love
  • Looks really nice to me!
  • Love it. Its unique and looks really good
  • I totally love it. The idea of the parallax gives you a better concept of the tiles acting as windows. Making the name have more sense.
  • I like.
  • To be honest, I initially didn't like it, but the more I look at it now the more impressive it gets. I'm on board with this. I don't mind having a few tiles here and there maintain their colors; I think it adds to the overall aesthetic appeal of the Start screen by making it more stylish and colorful.
  • I like having that option. No one should complain because its just Optional!
  • Did you take a careful look? some tiles have background and others don't. See how messy that looks?
  • I can make it look nice, I won't use the same background pick they're using. That's the good thing about it, u can choose! Its another option to play around with, and if u don't like, don't use it.
  • I dont like it. I've seen it in action and it just looks painful to the eye. Having the tiles and their icon move over the wallpaper. It looks very much like a amateur mod.   But I do like cutomization. In fsact I've grown bored of the mono-colored startscreen of WP. I wish WP would be customizable to look more like Windows 8. Like they demonstrate in this vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6P-uXwG-18
  • Really nice. I was really hoping for some actual w8 flavor. This background on the tile itself doesn't work for all tiles seems. So its gonna look shitty in every aspect. But the concepts you presented are awesome. I wish also the home screen tiles would flip too when you turn phone sideways. Why doesn't MS do this!
  • Hey better wallpaper can help.
  • They're like... windows
  • Love the alternative options. Options are always good.
  • Even if you hate it doesnt matter, thats the beauty of options...  
  • I love it!
  • I like the idea of having both, but would prefer an image behind the tiles. I made some concepts and posted them on the forum. http://forums.wpcentral.com/windows-phone-8-1/267467-7.htm#post2421217
  • Wow! That is actually very nice! I've never pictured how the background images would look nice, but I like what I saw, man. Maybe they implement that, after all... *fingers crossed*
  • .I actually like the new background style - especially after the parallax feature was revealed. Though, they could allow all the live tiles to be transparent (such as Xbox Music, Games, OneDrive, etc). I know developers can do this, but what about the built-in applications?
  • Loved the new start screen as it is better to have tile image rather than background image.
  • A pretty awesome option.
  • Love it, if you don't want a background but want a custom color you can just make a blank colored image!
  • Wow sooo coool.. I liked the parallex effects..
  • Love it.
  • Live it!!
  • I like it! The more options the better.
  • Meh.
  • Love it
  • WP 8.1 is looking better and better, can't wait to get it! :)
  • Really love. But, background only appears on startscrren? How about other apps? Like messaging, app list, seting section, still black/white? OmG!
  • Beasst but when is it coming out?
  • Love it, looks gorg, unique makes it stand out :)
  • I love it
  • The parallax adds a little depth to a one dimensional flat metro design. Good.
  • I think it seems okay, but if we could change the background, not the tile background, like you can in Windows 8, that would be nice. And custom backgrounds for text messages.
  • It shouldn't be called a start screen background because it's actually a tile background.. 7.5 of 10..
  • I'll try pictures but I have a feeling it'll be too busy so I'll just use solid colors or something to get that custom feel since there is no color wheel. Overall, its pretty cool.
  • man, i can't wait! this paralax effect totally changed my mind about it!  
  • what about the app list? will it have background too
  • Like this. Just think that WP8.1 should have notification bar on the bottom and not top.
    I have a L1520 and believe that WP has the edge on large screens, mainly because search, back, home and all menu buttons are found on the bottom of the screen. All the rest are swipes left, right, up and down, so even with a huge screen, it is pretty user friendly with one hand. Getting the notification bar from the top will place this amazing UI in par with the other OS that rely a lot on top left corner back and menu icons, in which is not user friendly for large screens. Maybe that is the reason why Apple is so reluctant to get a big screen. Most iOS apps have navigation and menu icons on the top. I would prefer for WP to have it in the lower side.
  • I see Cortana in those shots
  • Its funny, on first look I wasn't too crazy about it... Actually was a little disappointed..... But after seeing it in action with the "window" effect I absolutely love it!
  • Need some customization on app list. Grid view. Better organization etc
  • At first I didnt think I would like it because I thought that just the tiles were a picture, but this makes it seem like the tiles are transparent and the pic is in the background-similar to how Windows 8's background is. Although I would still like at least more colors to choose from than black and white, this will do for me for now :)
  • Looks like a mess! Some tiles have background and some don't! If gonna like this, gonna be fucked up!
  • Very cool! Love the parallax effect.
  • I cheked whole 8.1
  • I checked all phone in 8.1
  • Its going to look like shit if they don't make it to where if you set an image, it applies to ALL tiles instead of just the ones it chooses. I'm all for customization though. We shall see I suppose.
  • Once I have more customization options than the iPhone I am really happy. Now all they need are those apps to be on par with Apple and google.
  • Its a good start, however i would like more options , when i swipe to go to the app list , i would also like to see the image and not just a black or white background, same thing goes for the multitasking window. A. Customizable Unified theme throughout the entire phone would be nice, but i am happy that we are still getting some new options.
  • Yay
  • Background back tile.
    Not tile with background :/
  • I think it's a really cool idea. You need to select a good background for it to look nice, but that's been the case since windows 95. Busy backgrounds look terrible with lots of icons or tiles piled on top. I really can't wait until build. I'm a bummed the developer preview has been pushed back a week but it will be nice to finally see everything, especially Cortana and whatever other little hidden gems haven't leaked out yet. 5 days + whatever feels like so long to wait now.
  • It is great.
  • I want a wp8.1. I want to dump my s4...Damn Sprint needs to get with it... Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • Looks awsome !
  • Loving it. I hope the live tile counter will still work unlike skinnery.
  • When I read the about background image, I was not much interested... Coz I thought that they are spoiling the unique black style (or dark theme)...
    But after seeing the screenshots, I'm impressed... Now its all about selection of a correct image...
  • I love it!!!
  • Love it, at last we can have any colour tiles we want to have.
  • I can't wait to see WP 8.1 in my Lumia >ㅁ
  • Haha this poll just goes to show that people are more willingly to post negative comments about things than positive ones. I remember when it was first shown, a bunch of people commented on how they hated it. Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • I like it, but hopefully it will override the tiles that don't change colour with the theme, ie xbox music.
  • So we get this April 2 rite
  • I think this is perfect. Do I want a background? Select one! A solid color that isn't on the list? Got it too! Black? Oh, I am sooooo trying that! :D
  • Well, at least we'll be able to use custom colors if we choose not to use a picture
  • is it hard to atleast add an image in the bg? come on..
  • I love it, but why not implement background color as well? I don't think it's ugly..
  • I'm liking this only because of parallax effect... looks really nice <3 but i still wish to see background wallpaper under the tiles..
  • I don't hate it, but I must say I prefer the traditional start screen.
  • Gorgeous! It would have been nice if that pic really went in the background like Windows 8.x but still it's nice to look at!
  • Launcher 8 (Android) has had this feature for a long time. I found that the only wallpapers that look good are abstract. http://mycolorscreen.com/2013/06/15/raderator2/ http://mycolorscreen.com/2013/06/15/raderator/
  • Looove the new start screen for 8.1. In my opinion, this update can't come any sooner! ;). MUST HAVE UPDATE.... lol.
  • It will depend on the image but I am liking it so far!
  • Don't love it so much... I still think that those dark/light backgrounds are boring. It could be better if we could set a background for the tiles or a theme for the background!!!! Like abstract pictures and stuff like that...
  • Am in love with it....next week gonna marry 8.1....
  • Superb i would put a better wallpaper than that guy..
  • By the way they could have made the wall paper for whole black screen. Oh that might not be good anyway lets wait to have t on our phones. Hope its soon..i am ready to wait for 3months ..please nokia wp do it soon
  • I love it..,,
  • Love
  • Yes
  • Love it
  • Gotta try out first before voting
  • I love the new start screen, and I'm waiting for the new WP8.1 phones.
  • Love it
  • I have a love and hate relationship with this. While it does look cool, it does not take up all the titles and I would still like to replace the white or black backgrounds.
  • Whats parallex?
  • it's the effect which  in this case: the tiles move up/down 2inches but the BG only moves 1inch. get it?   hope i helped you.
  • YES I LIKE IT
  • I really like it, it'll make those small dead tiles look better, WP need options and this is a good step forward, so many people whining about a wall paper behind the tiles mmmm let's hope they'll get what they want let's try to keep people happy. This is exactly what I wanted it.
  • I love it. I think it's beautifull and can't wait for the sound of jaws droping when you show this off. What would be absolutely amazing is a tilt effect which would emphasize the window aspect of this new start screen.
  • No love or hate. Just let me use it already!!!
  • I want all tiles to be transparent, like music and Nokia apps. What is the use of wallpaper if some tiles will just stand out. Microsoft should start it with Bing apps.
  • YES, looks nice
  • This is awesome!!!! Very nice touch and I can't wait to use it.
  • Looks sweet, but could be better if we get some options for the background colour. Maybe change it according to the picture dominant color, just like the taskbar does in Windows...
  • It would be better if they let us change the background, instead of those tiles
  • I love the idea of having a background picture.
  • Hope it'll be available for every windows phone 8 device and at the same time. the black update took a month to be available on L620. :/ Such a waste of time.
  • If you see video, the background image looking nice, its look like a different UI, its awesome, main pont is that if you're not interested in background image u can normal ascent color. There is option available for it.
  • Its how it should be. Adding a bg behind the tiles is almost useless cos you can only see a bit of it. Translucent tiles will be a diff story though :)
  • Awesome
  • I absolutely love it....Parallax effect ftw!!
  • Love the paralax. I think this would really convert a significant amount of people over if the icon background extended to the entire screen. Would probably look amazing and very unique with tiles like those patent designs shown with cube like functionality/3d cubes. Microsoft may be able to really gain some momentum with some careful planning. Seems like they have been really trying to innovate lately and for the most part succeeding, hopefully most people will not be able to ignore it.
  • Choice is a good thing,so yes!
  • Iiiiii like it!
  • Yeap!
  • The video bad low quality..if it is in real this is so cool
  • I like it ,, too much, but How to create transparent icon?
  • I thought that it should be like dynamic background with animations not a 'tile' background D:
  • Who would hate that....
  • After seeing it in the video, i actually kinda like it. Wasn't sure about it at first
  • need improvement  and why doesnt apply on search screen , app search screen ?
  • please improve it  implement in proper way  by rolling out smal update  when we got a update we need to know changelog
  • it will look cool if we place a plain or almost plain wallpaper
  • When is 8.1 getting released in india? :)
  • The WP 8.1 home screen now is the most beautiful overall...
  • Love the wallpaper being inside the tiles, I just hope that apps start to make their tile use the same as the system instead of their own colours *cough* facebook *cough* twitter
  • Ugly. The background still back I thought they will let us have transparent live title and can change the background 
  • Offcourse....obvious.......just love. It
  • LOVE IT! HURRY UP AND RELEASE IT WITH HTC ONE M8!
  • I really don't see what the point is. Microsoft needs to stop wasting resources on features like this. From a usability stand point I think it makes it harder to find the tile you need. From an aesthetics perspective it looks, meh. If the goal is to bring phone and desktop together they should have gone the Windows 8 way and enabled syncing. That would be slick.
  • Ditto, that sentiment.
  • You can set the opacity of tiles if you want
  • Will there be a live stream of build? Btw, I love the skinned tiles
  • I'm not a fan of it. It doesn't match the high end design look of windows phone. This start screen kind of feels Ike android. Moving thing for no reason. I do like the idea of having a picture password similar to windows 8.1. If a picture background could be applied like on the PC simply blur it a little or the active transparent tile becomes translucent. Kind of a frosted glass time look over the active image.
  • Love it . . .
  • Love it
  • Looks Shit to me.All becoz you can't fully see the backgroung becoz of tiles like games music+videos.There should be an option to keep those ugly tiles transparent.Everyone has different opinions.The parallax thing is ok.And the background picks will look clearer if the black space or wide seperation between tiles should be made less.Still i am not happy with the ugly look.
  • It would be so much better with the option background, why they just dont do it? I dont get it
  • I was very much sceptic about image being applied to the tiles instead of background, but since I just saw that video with parallax I fell for it! One more week...
  • No one has ever done this before, so I think its interesting.
  • This just might make me jump the gun and buy Lumia 1020. LOVE IT.
  • Unique. Can't wait to experiment.
  • I hate it! I want something like this! - http://www.wpmania.com.br/2014/03/29/conceito-tela-inicial-do-windows-ph... backgrounds behind the tiles.
  • More choices to customise = I love it!
  • The talk of start screen background images never interested me at first. But now that I've seen the video and how they implemented it, I'm now a convert! I.LOVE.IT!!!
  • I look at it this way and since it's an optional feature why not, we could have some really cool looking start screens, or some really bad one's (up to the users choice of wallpaper). But all in all it's great that it is an option. I won't know if I really like it or not until I fully test it, but I've grown so accustom to the way things are now, simple and straight to the point with live tiles. We'll see.
  • Will see when try the update on 1520 soon, hopefully they'll get the full implements the existing WP 8 devices same as WP 8.1 devices. The rest...Microsoft has to wait for the end users feedback.
  • I just hope there are gonna be options to leave it like it's now or get the new customization . I really don't like the new LAGDROID looks.
  • Offtopic. Which back case is this in second photo? Thanks.
  • http://www.wphone.pt/2014/03/conceito-ecra-inicial-do-windows-phone.html Eu quero isto ^ Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • Actually, that doesn't look bad at all. Looks pretty cool.
  • It reminds me of what Windows Mobile became, and when I see people post screenshots of their custom skinned desktops: a mess. I appreciate that some people like it, so I'm glad they have the option but it's a shame to see such a well designed and good looking interface become so tacky. Not even the examples here all look good.   It is classic Microsoft to take something simple and elegant and then mess it up though, so there's that. ;)   The parallax effect is very cool at least, nicely done!   Still, I think maybe they should have left this to the third parties like Skinnery...   I wish the personalisation options from Windows 8.1 had been ported over, I would have liked to have a background image/tattoo and an expanded colour picker. That they've given this photo option but not more colour options (nor an actual background colour/tattoo/image) is crazy.   But, meh, options are good so I'm glad some people are happy! :)   As an aside, anyone else feel like the WP team are just ignoring Windows 8 in the same way the Windows team ignored Windows Phone as some kind of payback for the slight? As in: rather than take the things that work from the other OS they'd rather burn it down and do something new that's entirely their own as a form of cutting off their nose to spite their face?
  • +100!!! It may not be perfect but its a great start!! In all my devices I've always had my fam set as the home screen so this would be a great start, then at 8.2 or 9 based on user feedback can push out the next iteration.
  • I hope a jailbreak comes along and allows tile size manipulation and adding backgrounds behind them. Apparently its a big no no to have a differing opinion from those who approve of this parallax boreground.
  • It's good. I prefer abstract themes in my backgrounds, and this will work nicely with them.
  • Love it
  • I love it.
  • Eu adorei a nova tela inicial. Mas melhor seria se deixasem pelo menos duas opções de tela: a antiga (colocando novas cores de fundo além do preto e branco) e essa nova. 
  • I wish the would add more options for both background colour and tiles colour.
  • Am i the only one who thinks it looks weird that some tiles aren't transparent?
  • Actually, I guess I could get used to it.
  • HAHAHAH this is not start screen background , we had this look a long time ago with simple app. I waited so long for the update and now i see this. Again totally dissappointed. Windowsphone will never reach Android
  • I like it....cant wait to have it
  • This beautiful. I can't wait to get the 8.1 update so that I can use this feature. I don't understand why people are so upset by it. It's Microsoft's interpretation of the background image on WP8 and as has been mentioned several times, it's OPTIONAL. If you don't like it, don't turn it on. Personally, I'm going to set it up right after I set up Cortana. The hardest part will be trying to figure out what picture to use. 
  • The number of replies to the first comment is too damn high!
  • Why not? Is something refreshing finally. Getting tired of just accent colors.
  • Excellent! Keep this up and windows phones will be #1
  • Great job Microsoft!!!!!
  • I love the option. I am glad to see the OS getting more customizable with each iteration. I would like to see them use more background colors. And for some reason I like how the floating tiles look when you make adjustments, a permanent effect would be interesting.
  • The new start screen is cool. I think MS should extend it to the app list too
  • The preview for 8.1 will be available by April 10th, keeping fingers crossed to check it out
  • Have to see it on my phone before I can vote it up or down, so it's meh for now.
  • Love it!! Can't wait to get my hands on it.
  • Would Lumia icon get a glance screen with the 8.1 update?
  • I want a Windows Phone 8.1 because I have a Nokia Lumia 521 Windows Phone 8. But,what is the difference between Windows Phone 8.1 and Just Windows Phone 8?
  • there isn't much new. it's the same old 2011 thing only with a small tweak to show BG images. looks tired and boring. Is this the best some of the people earning 6 figures at redmond can do after 3 years? pfffff.
  • I always knew Microsoft would come with something awesome and out of mainstream (let's all agree, putting an image behind dead icons is messy and unorganized). Microsoft team was genius letting the icons (or tiles) by themselves have the background image! This was genial! Come to my Lumia 925 asap, WP 8.1! *-*
  • Phenomenal! And now with the Verizon Edge Program and the T-Mobile Program, I can turn in my other phone and enjoy 8.1  ASAP!
  • I've also always found it weird that you scroll up and down in windows phone, but left and right in Windows 8.
  • I like it.