Windows 8.1 screenshots leaked, redesigns showcased

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

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

The new Store interface finally gives recommendations to similar apps based on what you are currently browsing. For example: If you are looking at the Xbox Music app, the store might also recommend Pandora or Slacker Radio.

In addition, the leaked screenshots reveal a major redesign to the Xbox Music interface to allow for faster browsing of your collection. One of the current problems with Microsoft’s music app is that while aesthetically pleasing, the arrangement isn’t the most optimal – particularly for keyboard and mouse users.

The new Xbox Music interface allows users to navigate their current content along the side, with the addition of an “explore” button and quick access to the “radio”. Microsoft’s Smart DJ service is most likely powering the radio service and if that is true – users won’t be disappointed.

The new “explore” option seems to display artists you may be interested in along with recently released albums (and judging from the screenshot and the list of “new” albums – this UI has been in the works for a while now).

Lastly, a few new Windows 8 applications have been leaked including a new voice recording application, a new metro styled calculator (standard and scientific), and a beautifully designed alarm app. These new applications should prevent users from getting booted to the desktop for common tasks. This is in line with Microsoft also adding more control panel options to its metro settings interface.

What do you think of Microsoft’s new styling choices – are they headed in the right direction?

Source: The Verge

Michael Archambault