Windows Phone 8.1 may get backgrounds on the Start screen, three column support

More information from the Windows Phone 8.1 beta SDK leak hint at some forthcoming features for the OS update, due to be announced in April. The info comes from LiveSino, who found references to numerous unannounced references to features in the SDK, hinting that such customizations may be in the final build for customers.

The idea of giving customers more options to customize their Windows Phone has been a hot topic for customers for years. Currently on the Start screen, users are only allowed to select from a pre-selected range of hues, with no backgrounds, leading some to call the OS ‘boring’.

Now, LiveSino has found the following references in the SDK:

  • Start screen background setting (Start background), the user can select the picture
  • Start screen to open three columns (Show more Tiles), similar to the Lumia Icon, Lumia 1320, Lumia 1520

The Start screen background feature, also reported by the Verge, should make many users happy.

How will it look?

However, Windows Phone Central can confirm that so far, Microsoft has not settled on the look of this new feature. Indeed, there appear to be different builds of the OS floating around Redmond that do this customization in different ways. That may sound oddly vague, but if you look at the Start screen, you could probably think of a couple of ways where a user can display an image over their display and what options users have to control it.

Skinning the background and leaving the Tiles a solid color is but one approach, but there are others.

The toggle to ‘Show more tiles’ is also interesting, since previously Microsoft stated that devices with a display less than 5 inches won’t have this feature. Indeed, on the Lumia Icon, things do get small. However, Microsoft may decide to leave it to the customer in the end, when 8.1 lands.

Regardless, it’s clear that Microsoft is listening to users and 8.1 should provide a robust update.

Source: LiveSino, the Verge

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.