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

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

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

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

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

Windows Phone 8 Start Screen

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.

  • So excited.
  • Lovely!!!
  • Cooool
  • Any word if we are gonna have more color options for the background?
  • Yea, he said more color options.
    Daniel Rubino, Remember when I said you haven't seen a real WP8 start menu and that you told me that I was the one WHO DID NOT? :) Yep...
  • Sorry dude, I actually said this over a week ago on Reddit. Tiles are stil uniform in color and there is no background colors like Win 8. I stand by my statement. And trust me, I've seen way more than you have as I have all the developer docs for WP8 ;-)
  • Hmm, I guess our perceptions differ :)
  • Didn't Joe mention that colors could be changed?
  • Yes he did say the tiles color could be changed, not sure about the backgroud though..
  • uhhh you're so cool
  • Is it wp8 upgradeable! please yes!
  • Want these on current phones
  • You'll get it in WinPhone 7.8.
  • I LOVE IT!  Perfect.  I like the options and tile size as well as the removal of the 'gutter'
  • I can't say that I agree that removing the gutter is a good thing. It goes so well with the theme.
  • RIP, gutter 2010-2012. We hardly knew thee!
  • You didn't even stick with it the whole time so you shouldn't say anything
  • I know. Where do I turn myself in? Btw, wanna buy my Arrive? I'll give you a good deal.
  • What is the gutter is It the empty space on the side with the arrow.
  • correct. :) 
    So my guess will be a seemless screen and you still swipe to get to the #-a-z apps.
  • Yes, that is it.
  • I likes the gutter too. Perfect for moving tiles around
  • What the hell is gutter? And for a second I was sceptical about the small tiles, but then realized how great it would be not having to flick and search all the time for an application that didn't need a big live tile :D
  • The gutter is the empty space to the right of the live tiles. I am all for it going away. And I wouldn't worry about the small tiles, because, if I'm reading right, you will be able to customize the size. You can just make them all medium instead of small.
  • Im perfectly fine with leaving my gutter behind there are better things I can be doing with that space lol
  • Losing the gutter is a BIG loss. Makes me VERY nervous that the great design that drew me to WP is being diluted / tainted / abandoned. This MS fan went from Bewitched (by Surface) on Monday to Bothered & Bewildered (by new WP start screen) on Wednesday. SO hope its not an altogether done deal.
  • Can I keep my gutter?
  • +1
    Along with the arrow I think it really added something unique to the WP/Metro look.
  • ^This. I like the little arrow
  • That neutral space was nice and made it easier to move tiles around.
  • +1
  • Put medium tiles in one column and small ones in the next column and you'll have a gutter sort of. Might actually look nice too.
  • Yeah those were my thoughts. Medium tiles down the left side, small tiles to the right of thos and voila! Gutter (stupid Paul Thurott and his word).
  • +1
  • +1
    I love the so called gutter :(
  • same, while i like the idea of small tiles, this looks way to cluttered without that clean gutter off to the left..
  • Yes
  • +10000000!
  • Any word on whether this new start screen rotate orientation for landscape? 
  • +1
  • +100000
    Please answer this question
  • +2
  • That would be perfect for resting my HTC HD7S on its kickstand!
  • Very nice looking indeed.
  • Windows phone 7.8..?
  • Wait. Winphone 7.8? What's that?
  • It's the watered down version of WP8 that current users are going to be able to upgrade to. We get the cool start screen and some other little things but that's about it.
  • Damnnnnnnnnnnnn
  • 7.8 will be explained soon guys...
  • I think 7.8 is the update to current Gen
  • i fear that current phones will get wp7.8.....Damnnnn Noooooo
  • Yes 7.8, details please lol
  • Omg this is amazing, I better get it on my lumia 800 :)
  • Glad I wasn't alone :(
  • Stop acting like your on you cycle! if you want leave the tile the way they were natively, you can. So again stop crying.
  • What's so shitty about it???
  • Haha! Well, that's what's great about it is, you can customize it to keep it they way it is now... I like that you have that option... Easy solution! Rape avoided! =)
  • You read my mind. I'm honestly considering skipping 7.8. 
  • So the small icons are too small and the medium icons are too big? I think you are grasping at straws here.
  • While you obviously entitled to your opinion I dont see where your getting you can only fit six every picture gas more then six tiles. Unless your referring to something different.
  • He is referring to the increased size of the tiles. Since they removed the gutter they enlarged the 'medium' tile size to be larger. So intead of the 8 'medium' sized tiles you see on your phone now, you can only fit 6 'medium' sized tiles on the new OS, which is evident you you see the screenshots. As a result, you can't really get it looking the same as the original version since the sizes are all different.
  • I see it differently.  You can make the tiles all the same size as current wp, but w/out the gutter.  Keep the tiles exactly how you have it.  What you are seeing is what they customized for an example to show off the different sizes, etc.  YOU can make the tiles how YOU want them to be.  That is a good thing.
    People complain not enough customization, you give them customization they complain they have too many choices.  
  • You are kidding right?  It is a demo, presentation.  Removing the gutter does not really impact the size much, if at all.  It is just centered.  Plus, you make the tiles how you want to make them.  How is this so hard to understand.
  • I liked how WP7's design was so simple, the icons were the same size, and the arrow space fitted perfectly with the theme... WHY?? It just looks too messy!
  • +10
  • It makes absolutely no sense to say that it is messy because you can customize it which ever way you want and if you want to leave blank spaces you can. You are complaining about having the choice to be (in your opinion) messy as if someone is forcing you to be
  • So keep the standard sized tiles that you have now. Nobody is forcing you to layout your home screen like that.
  • Haven't we all complained when theres been a bad photoshop in a magazine or on a website where they copy/paste the tiles and stretch them all the way across the screen? It looks bad every time, and we always notice. Then Microsoft made that the default.... I don't get it.
  • Be quiet troll we all know it awesome looking and go back to your junk iPhone and android phones those are the ugly phones
  • I liked the artist mockups better. Glad for the customization though. I wish the nav app would update in the tile and u could make it half the screen and still see other live tiles
  • I hated the artist mockups, I think this is a much better compromise between current WP7 and people who wanted something similar to windows 8. Just my .02.
  • yeah. I'm guessing you can customize it by just keeping each row's as 1 medium + 1 small square wide.. but then u can't have double-wide tiles or 2 medium squares side-by-side.. it would be great if there was just an option in settings to scale the whole layout to fit the space it currently occupies, gutter and all..
  • This is hilarious...first it was not enough too much.
  • The new customizability & functionality are great. Muddying the WP design magic - not so great. Losing the negative space.. which has also brought with it altered tile sizes / proportion on screen, and a banal centered alignment.. makes me shudder. SO cluttered & busy, so NOT clean & clear. I hate to say it, but this huge WP fan is really let down - and really worried that the beauty of WP is being sacrificed for gimicry.
  • On the fence for this one. I hate the way win 8 looks compared to WP7. Hopefully it won't be as ugly as the desktop 8.
  • It's customizable... You can keep it the way it is... What's the issue? =)
  • You must not use win 8 because tile size is only a fraction of what makes them different. Thanks for playing though.
  • Yes!!!!!
  • Nice. Now we.can use all the screen
  • Luv'n it. If you want more on you start screen.... You got it! If you want to keep it the way it is... You can do that too! Customizable!!!! Great! =)
  • how? I can't keep it the way it is now because if I want a gap on the left I can only fit one medium square (current size) and one mini square. that means no two medium squares side-by-side and no double-wide tiles, at all.. they didn't just add a 3rd column as people seem to think, rather they scaled the two columns up to fit the whole width of the screen, and, (separate issue) added smaller tiles.
  • It looks WAY too busy now...2 columns showed enough for me. This would be horrible on the smaller screen devices. I guess you could make it 2 columns by changing the sizes...
  • Pretty sure you will have the option to have 2 by 2 tiles r 1 by 4 or 4 by 4
  • You don't have to use it, stop complaining
  • Just use a top row of 4 small icons for things like phone, email, texts, and something like browser or whatever that doesn't convey a lot of info, then 6 more medium tile below that and you get 10 items in place of the 8 before minus the arrow/gutter space.  Still looks clean and simple and you gain a bit of real estate with a couple more items.
  • +1...that sounds like an awesome set up...
  • maybe you can try it first before talking crap? oh wait, i dont think so. thats the way complainers and idiots acts, they critize something they havent even used.
  • If it helps you, this arrangement looks very customizable so maybe you can tweak it to your own taste later? 
    And on the plus side, that'll also be better than complaining on an online forum.
  • More tiles badass very satisfied
  • Amazing!!!
  • Finally we can use the whole screen!!!! More live tiled apps in less space. Perfect!
  • Confirm windows 7.8 only for current devices Apollo for next Gen.
  • 1st I've herd of it, but would make sense, since they are improving the hardware... Wouldn't expect a FULL upgrade to be avail on wp7.5
  • I just saw that 7.8 is for legacy devices. No upgrade for us 7.5 guys :(
  • You sure? I just read about a month ago, that they would upgrade... Just might not have all FULL features due to hardware upgrades.
  • 7.5 devices are now legacy devices
  • Still want to know if there is going to be preview messages on the live tiles or options to turn it on or off.
  • If you make your email into a large tile you will get to preview messages. Same for messaging tile.
  • I want the new start screen in wp7.8
  • New star will come with 7.8
  • im going back to iPhone i would have thought for sure the Lumia 900 would receive the update its been two months and its already been declared obsolete 
  • So almost all the features of WP8 in 7.8 for current devices are not enough? How about iphone4 users not getting things like siri after just one year? Anyway, ta ta!
  • I concur theefman... iPhone's looks so lame now! Enjoy!
  • Shut the fúck up, stupid muthafúcker
  • Who the f**k cares of lumia users. All I care is OS how fast and fluid it is still and new features. Thank Microsoft save nokia butt from failing
  • Most rapid growth of WP was experienced after Lumina.
  • This is exactly what I was scared about - it's the same bloody update, just a different name for us Mango/pre-Mango users because of obvious hardware limitations. They should have just called it WP8 for all and maybe the whining would have gone down a notch. I love it when companies are honest with users and detail exactly what's happening - something MSFT did in this case but it's whining like this that makes me think otherwise.
    Honestly, what are you complaining about? You are getting the EXACT same update from a software standpoint, you certainly don't expect Microsoft or Nokia to send down a rep. to put an NFC chip in your phone, do you?
  • I doubt he has a Lumia 900 anyways.
  • I must agree the start screen looks like there is too much business going on. Hopefully the organize multiple screens like windows 8. But I bet you can customize it to look like wp7.
  • but no more arrow and start space! I think that looks great! no background colors or setting individual tile colors either.
  • Looking lovely can't wait but we need phone specs.
  • Paul Thurrot just announced on twitter that phones running 7.x will have the new start screen
  • What about background wallpaper
  • ahhh, I want that arrow/off-centre back!!
  • me too!
  • Then don't update
  • Is there a second screen still? The app list we have now, or do all installed apps have to have a tile on the start screen?
  • I was curious about this as well.
  • Told you Daniel!
  • Cool;-)
  • Beautiful. I hated the gutter, and am so glad its going:-)
  • While very welcome and exciting, my initial impression is also mixed with UGLY. To a certain extent too much live tiles loses the elegance of what is found in the start screen of WP7.5 and W8. It feels elementary and cluttered. I'm just glad that it's customizable and with a strategic design in customization (sizes, placement/location), you can retain the elegance WP7.5. 
  • Awesome Awesome UI and new look. IPhone and android UI are still dead and boring. Windows 8 new look is a total success. So fricken beautiful. Wonder if apple co founder Steven Wozniak gonna love it again hahhaha apple iPhone and android learn a lesson how a smartphone should look and that's. Windows phone 8
  • Hahha I knew it was going be new look and Daniel says will be same UI look hahaha he just don't know
  • How is this a new UI look???? Its the same thing with some upgrades. Pretty sure that is exactly what Daniel said...
    I dont want to have 150 icons on my start screen..
  • ....its to the right.
  • did you see it?
  • They aren't showing many end-user features of the OS today, this is developer stuff and core functions.  I'm 99.9999999999% sure the app list still exists if you swipe to the left with your finger, just no more arrow tap.
  • Look up the definition of customizable and you wont have to!
  • The app list is confirmed to exist on the video of a lumia 900 running 7.8 Apparently the current early builds have bug issues with the swipe to right or app list.
  • Do we know anything about multitasking? And I agree with microhaxo where is the applist?
  • Kind of disappointed in it, I understand they want to make the various flavors of Windows all seem the same, but different devices and usage models dictate otherwise. I find the arrow and negative space intuitive...has there been any mention of something like a notification area to the left?
  • What is that ESPN tile displaying scores? is that new for WP7.8? Or is it available now?
  • It's available now, just go into the settings and enable the live tile option.
  • It was displaying scores? Let me look again. Edit: And, so it was. Heat v Thunder. Think that was game 2.
  • I'm gonna miss the gutter. :'(
  • And arrow.
  • hmm, now its ugly from a design perspective.
    metro needs whitespace to breath. now windows phone new centered layout looks like the uninspired centered ios layout.
    it is a nice feature to spit the tiles, but now it is impossible to have 2 squares AND the gap on the right side.
    for me as a designer the gap was a  necessary key part of metro.
    whats next? a full centered windows 8 screen?  :(
    i want the gap and the golden proportion back. please microsoft make it an option.
    centered for those who fear whitespace.
    and well proportioned for the designers out there.
  • YES!!! +1,000,000,000,000 agree with everything you just said. this is really sad. the current configuration could have easily supported the addition of mini tiles without killing the beautiful metro aesthetics. people call the so-called gutter 'wasted space' but it's integral to the look and feel of WP, which i feel has (had) the best UI I'd ever seen.