concept | Windows Central


Bing teams up with Robocop – showcases the future of search

When Robocop hits the streets, he uses his weaponry and might to bring uncompromising justice to the people; among those weapons is Microsoft’s search engine, Bing. In a fictional world where crime is out of control, Sony Pictures reached out to the Bing team and asked them to come up with a concept for search in the “not-too-distant future” and, needless to say, they delivered.

Toshiba’s 5-in-1 Concept PC is a look into the wild future of computers

CES is a great place to see tech that is coming out in the next year or so. It’s also a great place to see some concepts for where consumer technology will be in three, five, ten years or even further! Toshiba has a concept computer that they’re calling a “5-in-1”. That’s right, this shape-shifting concept PC combines five designs into one device. Here it is.

Video Interview with Windows 8.2 Concept Designer Jay Machalani

Last week we reported on Jay s Windows 8.2 concept design. Many Windows fans around the world looked upon the concept animation and screenshots with awe, at a design that could not help to amaze. This week, we decided to have a virtual sit down with Jay and discuss his motivations for designing the concept as well as the impact it might have on Microsoft’s future designs going forward.

Jay Machalani's Windows 8.2 concept - this is something you don't want to miss

Whether you love an operating system or you hate it, there is always room for improvement and the grasp of perfection is always one step further ahead than you are. In a video recently posted to YouTube by Interface and Branding Architect, Jay Machalani, he proposed how he would “fix Windows 8”.

Jay stated that “Windows 8 is [his] favorite OS to date, but that [it] is filled with massive flaws”. The one word he uses to describe Microsoft’s latest operating system is “confusion”.

Concept animation for Windows Phone 8.1 hints at possible future OS design

Windows Phone 8.1 is right around the corner. Over the past few weeks we’ve seen screenshots and shared information about the upcoming update to Windows Phone. One places where screenshots have been leaking are in the Windows Phone Central Forums, the place you frequently visit. Curious how Windows Phone 8.1 will work in action? Here’s a probable example.

Combining leaks: What the 6-inch Nokia Lumia 1520 may look like

Since today there’s less news about the Microsoft-Nokia acquisition floating around, we can return to business as usual: writing about Windows Phones. Specifically, the Nokia Lumia 1520 aka the rumored 6-inch device that is expected to launch in November.

There have been two high profile leaks of this device lately, including a real photo of the 1520 and a screenshot from the 1080P display revealed by @evleaks.

One of our Windows Phone Central Forum members, Rohan Vg, threw his modest PhotoShop skills at the problem and combined those two images into one (seen above). It gives us a better look at what the finalized device may look like.

Microsoft patents transparent laptop display with the ability to project holograms

Microsoft seems to be on the roll with futuristic patents lately. In addition to the augmented reality gaming glasses that were filed by the company, another patent has come to light for a laptop with a transparent display.

What Windows Phone could have been: Windows Mobile 7 concept surfaces [Deleted]

Update 3pm ET: Video has been deleted by the user, sorry folks! We'll try to find an alternative soon.

Long Zheng, the brains behind the likes of MetroTwit and more (we interviewed the chap a while back), has come across a handful of concept videos published by UI designer Dave Brinda. It's reported that Brinda worked with Microsoft on the "Windows Mobile 7" project and currently works at HTC, responsible for designing HTC Sense on Android as well as HTC TouchFlo 3D on Windows Mobile. So what's the concept like? Well, see for yourself.

Windows Phone Leaf: A concept to improve the user interface

A concept, created by recent French graduate Ferid, has been published online. The concept goes into some detail about possible improvements that could be implemented to make it easier and more convenient for consumers to carry out standard tasks on a mobile phone. 

A stunning Windows Phone concept: The Surface N

Chinese designer KuanGaa Chen has created something magical, which we somehow missed under our radar. It's a Windows Phone Surface concept, which would be the end result of a Microsoft venture into the mobile space to match its Windows 8 tablets. The video above runs through some of the features of both the hardware and advanced software Chen has managed to pack into the concept.

Reader Concept: Adding more Live Tiles to your Windows Phone

Earlier today we shared with you guys news about Microsoft looking to add more live tiles to Windows Phone. It would allow the interface to look better on displays with larger and higher resolutions, something that Windows Phone 8 currently might not excel at. A reader sent a quick mockup of what that would look like. We figured we’d share it with you all.

Nokia patents another Windows Phone design, looks vaguely familiar

A new patent has been found for a Nokia Windows Phone. What's more is that the design looks familiar. In fact, we've seen this particular design before in a render. Filed back in December 2011, concept images of the device were leaked prior to that in August, which was before the Lumia 800 - Nokia's first Windows Phone was even announced.

Fan render of proposed Nokia ‘phablet’ makes us yearn for new hardware

Nokia will get into the tablet business. We’re pretty sure of that as higher ups at Nokia have said as much in the past and even CEO Stephen Elop mentioned about the “opportunity” being there just a few weeks ago here in New York.

The only questions that remain are when and what it will look like, to which we have no leads or even guesses.

That hasn't stopped the folks at ProductShowroom from taking a stab at the concept with their recent device render (translation: this is all completely 'made up'). They’ve decided that Nokia should go the ‘phablet’ route, a new mixed term for really big phones that are basically mini-tablets e.g. Samsung Galaxy Note.

For the record, we really hate saying 'phablet'. 

Nokia Windows Phone Apollo concept surfaces, what do you make of the design?

Bence Bogár, a designer who publishes work to a majority of websites and resources, has revealed some Nokia Windows Phone concepts on Twitter. Bogár, who works at Egy Stúdió in Hungary, states the device in the images is a Nokia Windows Phone sporting a quad-core processor and HD display. While they may well be mere concepts and ideas as to what Nokia could work with in the future, they do appear to be marmite within Windows Phone Central HQ - it's torn the team between absolute detestation to appreciation.

Microsoft Surface and RIM BlackBerry Windows Phone 8 concepts that will probably never come to be

Could Microsoft make a Surface Phone? Not likely

We've re-published a number of concepts in the past when it came to guessing what designs Nokia had up their sleeves for Windows Phone, or how Windows 8 tablets could look like. Fortunately for consumers, Microsoft decided to smash the latter and unveil their Surface range of Windows 8 tablets to compete with the iPad and Android counterparts. So we now switch back to the phone, and with Apollo on the horizon what could we see if Microsoft and RIM made a Windows Phone?

Windows Phone notifications history concept

We've read many complaints (especially in the comments and on our forum) that Windows Phone lacks a central notification centre, Apple's iOS being a good example, and we tend to agree. Toast notifications on Microsoft's platform disappear after a few seconds only to be lost in cyber space with the inability to view what has been missed. Let's face it - we're not glued to our phones 24/7.

Introducing a concept by Kasser Riaz (click the image for larger / better quality version), which looks relatively promising with how it doesn't look as though the simplistic beauty of the OS would be in jeopardy should an implementation such as this be carried out, unlike some concepts we've seen posted around the web.

As one can see when looking at the concept above, Riaz has provided an idea for how Microsoft and the Windows Phone team could create their own notifications centre (or "History") in this case. Keeping everything simple and clutter-free, swiping to the right on the home screen will bring up the app list as usual, while swiping on the left will land you at the notification history list.

As well as system alerts, messages and email notifications, third party app alerts are also displayed with a short description and the time stamp. It's not only a user-friendly way of keeping the UI chrome and clutter free, but enables the user to view their history of notifications in a Metro format. But would this suffice as a solution to a unified notifications centre for Windows Phone, or should we be looking elsewhere?

As a side note: what do you guys make of the wallpaper with transparent tiles and a more Windows 8 feel?

Thanks Kasser for sending the concept in!

Student project makes use of Kinect and Windows Phone to teach cultural norms

Ro Ramtohul is a student, studying at the University of Dundee, Scotland, who has been working on a project called "reculture" for the final year of his course (Digital Interaction Design), and it involves a Windows Phone. Those who primarily reside in the West (or share the same stereotypical ignorance towards foreign cultures as the British) are being targeted by Ramtohul for some interactive education.

The project, as can be witnessed in the above video, is a Windows Phone app that works with the Kinect for Xbox 360, much like we've seen with previous concepts. As opposed to learning the language, or reading blocks of tedious text, Ramtohul's work will have the user engage physically using gestures. The Windows Phone app will compliment the Kinect by acting as a type of 'instruction manual'. Users are alerted by a notification when they're in the proximity of the Kinect and can watch a small video within the mobile app illustrating what gesture is required to be carried out (accompanied by some details about the culture).

Gestures (and cultures) alternate on a daily basis, with the above Japanese greeting acting as a single example - a successful command turns on the TV. It's a really neat concept and we look forward to see how the development pans out. You can find out more about what motivated Ramtohul with reculture, as well as checking out more videos of his work via the links below. The project is full steam ahead with more cultures and gestures being programmed - of course, the British gesture will be drinking a cup of tea.

Source: reculture, Vimeo

Fan concept II: What if Windows Phone had folders?

Yesterday we ran a story on a fan concept that gave the ability to shrink down the program tiles on the Windows Phone Start screen. The post turned out to be wildly popular, with over 80 comments from you folks where you actively (and cordially) debated and discussed the merits of such a proposed UI. Very impressive and some great ideas too.

Today, we have a follow up to that, asking the question "What if Windows Phone had folders?'. This was the route taken by Apple and their iOS as a means to organize programs. While Windows Phone has a "jump list", it's the Start menu where users can customize and organize. It's that latter part where we've seen users create iconic separators to help better tidy up.

WPCentral member Sebastien "ArtSooby" Bruneau has posted up a few shots of what he thinks would work, namely those folders. His idea is take off of the current People Tile, where you have little photos flashing around of your contacts. But instead he envisions having a "Folder tile" with the apps inside flashing in the same manner. Once again, an elegant idea as it is keeping within the bounds of Metro's design principles. We could imagine that tapping on a folder tile will expand to show it's contents, allowing a quick selection (we'll leave the mechanics to Microsoft, ahem).

In the image above and to the left, you can see a tile called "News". In the second image, how a second menu option can be added called "Pin to folder' from the jump menu and finally in the third shot (the right), we can see how they would populate the "News folder". Looks good to us.

So like yesterday...sound off in comments on why/why not this would be a good solution!

Fan concept: What if Windows Phone had smaller tiles?

There are two things we know about the Windows Phone system so far:

  1. It's constantly evolving and the WP Team are likely to make significant changes and additions in future updates, responding to user demands and usage
  2. With the new 30 Live Tile limit and 25+K apps, we may run out of Start screen space as we pile on tile upon tile (see the BBC News Mobile as an example)

Over at XDA, forum member tiny17 has come up with an interesting idea for a future Windows Phone UI design: long press on a start tile where upon you "halve the size" of it and then, optionally, once more, till it's 1/4 of the original size.

The idea would certainly create more space and allow you to see more without infinite scrolling. In addition, it keeps to the Metro/Tile UI without any drastic changes to the paradigm. Only issue we see may be with the 1/4 size may be too small on some 3.6" screens. Other than that, it's seems like a pretty ingenious idea and makes you wonder if Microsoft is already thinking of solutions like these for the future. Our opinion? We really like this approach and it looks good too.

Edit: To clear up some confusion, this model doesn't mandate 1/4 size tiles. It allows full size, 1/2 size and 1/4 according to the user's choice. Look closely at the above images and see how all three are represented.

Think you have an idea that doesn't dramatically alter the UI? Anyone starting to have too many tiles? Hit us up on comments.

Source: XDA; Thanks, @CarsonKuehne, for the tip!

Sony Ericsson Xperia Concept Running WP7

Victor Cao, an artist from Vietnam, has created some concept designs for a Sony device running what appears to be a vision of Windows Phone 8. What's eye-popping about the design? The specifications of course, unfortunately we still can't wireless synchronise with microwaves and ovens but the proposed 1080p screen with a 12MP camera coupled with HD video capturing would be pretty nice.

Only issue I have with it is the UI, it's taken the simplicity of Metro and thrown in some gradients with glass effects. While I think the device looks promising (and the specification is on par with advancements), the prediction of WP8 looking as it does in the designs isn't my cup of tea. Check out some more images after the break.