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New Windows Phone 8.1 video reveals Start screen backgrounds, parallax view

As we reported earlier, the leaks for Windows Phone 8.1 are coming in at a steady pace now. Following up on this morning’s video that showed off the new OS is one focusing on the new Start screen options.

Not much has happened with the Start screen since Windows Phone 8 was announced, but with 8.1 users will have at least two new features to help customize and personalize their phones: Start background and Show more Tiles.

As revealed in this admittedly poorly shot video, users can choose from a pre-selection of background images for their Start screens. Alternatively, users can select photos from their Facebook, OneDrive, or camera roll as well. Perhaps the neat thing is the parallax movement when the user scrolls, giving the Tiles a true “windows” feel to them, much like looking outside a window pane.

The other feature is of course ‘Show more Tiles’ though that is not detailed in this video. In essence, users will be able to toggle between two or three columns of Tiles, allowing users to fill more of the screens with their favorite apps. It’s not clear if there will be display size restrictions though we have heard of it being on the Lumia 630, which is thought to be 4.5 inches.

Much has been made of the background images for the Live Tiles, with some users preferring it to be truly in the background. We disagree. This approach that Microsoft is giving users is truly unique, innovative and when you use the right image, downright gorgeous. Besides selecting a photo, users will be able to use custom solid color wallpaper on the phone, giving them the ability to make their phone look how they want.

More will be revealed next week at Build, so stay tuned.

Source: Coolxap, YouKu; Thanks, alocom and kheang, for the tips

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.

395 Comments
  • Man this update...
  • I wonder if kids corner will have something similar.
  • Please share the link!
  • This seemed quite like 3d look in video .
  • Has kids corner been updated at all? I had to turn it off cause it still asked for my password when trying to open kids corner, and that kinda defeated the whole purpose for me. So now they don't ever touch my phone haha.
  • Yeah, kind of weird to have a password there, but hey, now my nephews can't touch it so its a win win. Ha ha.
  • They will fix it in the update
  • Kids corner needs a serious update where it should have its own lock (or unlocked) code separate from the main phone
  • +1020
  • +620
  • Kids corner will not have passcode requirement.
  • Any body have a spare pare or pants? I need some after that video... Omg...
  • Sorry no spare pants, go commando :)
  • He didn't ask for underpants, so presumably he was either already commando when he watched the video and his pants are messed, or the effect of the video was similar to two pounds of sugar free gummy bears and he overflowed his underpants and soiled his pants as well. Either way, pants are wrecked and commando is not a solution. I suggest a Scottish inspired, impromptu shirt kilt.
  • AHHAHAHAHA those sugar free gummy bears will get you every time
  • That is one of the funnist things I've read in a long time, thank you.
  • Or the replier is not American. In British English, "pants" usually means underpants, and "trousers" is the usual word for what we Americans usually call "pants"
  • Man I want it NOW!!!
  • Let me do the math. Nokia Bios Blue - ready to go
    +
    WP 8.1 Update - release to carries this summer
    =
    AT&T will begin pushing the updates to newer phones by December and older headsets by 2015 at the earliest.  
  • I believe it. I think it's called update exclusivity.
  • Who cares? That is what developer preview is for.
  • is Actionable notifications on wp8.1 ???
  • so I guess Green Lantern Corps won't be using WP
  • What u did there,i see it
  • Haha :) first thing that came to my mind
  • This is gonna be like experiencing WP for the first time all over again.. This update is the best update since WP7.0 was revealed❕
  • Yup. More differences between 8.0 > 8.1 than 7.5 > 8.0
  • Exactly... Its like 7.0-7.5,, but with much more consumer usable features... This is a update based on the needs of the consumer, not just underlined system changes like 8.0 was.... Developers also get a lot more control this time around, and that's really important too.
  • hey did anyone notice that when the guy in the video hits the Home button at 0:22 it goes back to the previous page (not the Start screen!)   Is this the new behavior of the Home button?  
  • Come on guys, it IS beautiful. I especially like the parallax! :)
  • I'll have to agree to that - despite my fears that it would look rubbish. Gladly stand corrected :)
  • Same here, I thought it looked terrible but the parallax effect makes it look much better. In the end I do think the choice of image will make a big difference though.
  • absolutely this
  • One thing many times come to my Mind how Chinese people get such things so earlier
  • Parallax makes it work. The still shots we've seen previously made you wonder. Next week can't come soon enough. Hope the release is not delayed (looking at you V)
  • Oh, I'm sure that it'd be easy enough to pick a poor photo for the task and have it still look rubbish. Hopefully, for those without the good taste and restraint necessary to choose suitable images, they'll provide some images that'll play nicely with the theme. A nice rotation of images, a la the Bing homepage, would be a cool option. 
  • Great idea. Would be nice if this could use the Bing desktop image and have it change automatically like on the lock screen. I bet the transition between lock screen and home screen looks pretty cool when you use the same image for both of them
  • When he's selecting the picture it looks like you can choose more than one, so maybe you can have a slideshow or something...
  • Ditto.
  • Agreed! The background image thing parallaxing ftw!
  • dude anyone seen the show more tiles option !!
  • It IS beautiful, but I would like to have the option to turn off the parallax.
     
  • You just had to be that guy, huh?
  • Haha. Everyone wants options everywhere.
  • I hate that guy! This is gonna b EPIC!
  • Agreed. I also want the option to turn off options and I would like no option to turn off options. (Joking...) Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • If they put in toggles for every option the settings menu would become a bigger mess than the android settings menu and would be just as hard to use. Not every little thing needs to be customized.
  • Yeah I love it!
  • Stunning !!
  • Not sure I'm sold on it, it looks a bit weird to me... But I can't decide until I actually try it!
  • Yup parallax definitely made it much much better. I was strongly against this. I still wish we could change the background color instead of just having black or white. That in combination with this will be pure awesome.
  • That is home screen in the image is ugly as sin...against it will look better with a different background image.
  • The pinned tiles will also matter. If you have too many tiles for 3rd party apps that doesn't use transparent background, you're out of luck.
  • I agree❕... It's freekin awesome.
    ❕❕❕❕❕
  • Yeah its trippy, translucant and cool. Like it. I can see it being a personal choice though, but hey, we all love options right.
  • I love this after seeing this video.earlier i thought it was horrible.
  • HURRY UP 8.1  
  • I hope the event on Wednesday is cancelled.....;-)
  • I wondering if the event on First April, it'll be April Fools >:)
  • It's April the 2nd❕❕... Lol❕❕
  • You could still get a message on the first saying "You have been pranked"  Or maybe they'll just tell you that your name isn't on the list. :P :P
  • Lol!!... MS would be ridiculed so hard for eternity if that happened..
  • we dont want this.. WE WANT BACKGROUNDS! god damn it..
  • No, I want this. Backgrounds behind the tiles is hands down the dumbest thing I have ever heard and I'm glad that's not happening.
  • +1020
  • Thats a lie. I'm sure you've heard other dumber things around here.
  • lol, good point
  • It's definitely in the top 3 though.
  • Lol❕❕
  • Amen! We need like buttons on WPCentral
  • That's coming❕❕❕
  • I think I'd still prefer the look if you could categorize tiles like in Windows 8 and have a normal background.  Better organization and you'd see more of the background.
  • Phew... For a second I thought this guy was speaking for all of us and I was going to have to change my opinion to fall in line. Thanks, Daniel
  • +1520
  • +520
  • it would be cool to have it as an added option, but that parallax view is way better that an image behind the tiles that barely visible.
  • I'll admit I wanted backgrounds behind the tiles, rather than a skin on them. But this...this I did not even think of. A parallax skin underneath basically transparent tiles! That's amazing. I would worry that it might be a little distracting when trying to find the tile you want to open, but then you can just choose a less distracting (defocused, uniform color) photo to use for the parallax background.
  • I pointed out this idea about a million times, either here or on the forum, no on listened. If I was a millionaire everyone would have listened. Lol
  • Conversely, if you could get everyone to listen, you'd be a millionaire. Go get 'em!
  • Best response I've ever read in wpcentral comment box.
  • Same here. I am thoroughly impressed with parallax.
  • Why can't we have both options?
  • Because, as Daniel said, the other option is stupid!   That is all.
  • Yup. Sometimes you need to call a spade a spade. Or a stupid idea a stupid idea.
  • Can't I just call this spade a diamond and put down a full house already?
  • The other option being a background image that is almost completely covered up by tile? You would only see a small sliver between tiles and a small square in areas where there is no tile. People want a lot of things until they actually get them and realize many of the things they wanted are just stupid. I guarantee you that Microsoft tried both option and many others and showed them to consumer research groups and this was the highest rated.
  • Actually with the larger 5 inch+, 3 column phones the tile placements are not as rigid as before, in short it's very easy on those phones to arrange your tiles to create empty/black space. In which case a background image would be highly visble and not "almost completely covered up" as you say.  I experiment with all kinds of tile layouts on my Icon, I could easily make a background image "behind" the the tiles look fantastic.
  • I think having an image behind the tiles would be too iOS6.  This option is more trailblazing.
  • I was hoping it would be more like the Windows 8.1 Start Screen backgrounds instead, but the parallax effect just adds something to it rather than being a static image.
  • +822
  • Well, not so much perhaps if they would extend to the app list view.
  • Why not both?
  • +2520*1520*1320
  • yuck.. skin looks cheap! its like using a wallpaper on your wall.. nasty and with better organization, backgrounds can look awesome on WP! just one example: https://windowsphone.uservoice.com/forums/101801-feature-suggestions/suggestions/5585800-start-screen-background-with-tiles-grouping-and-s
  • This looks 1000 better!!
  • That looks fifteen hundred twenty times better! And it fits more with Windows 8 which I thought Microsoft was trying to do. 
  • Why not both? And everyone is happy!
  • Yes but what would this look like with an all black picture.... Like a void.
  • Agreed 100%. This is an awesome "desktop picture" implementation.
  • We just need to be able to change the color. It should effect the color of the app list too. Just black or white is boring. Of course background images would look dumb but background colors would be awesome.
  • Theres no point to put background images cause its covered with tiles. So i prefer this one.
  • They could do transparent tiles.
  • Oh no Daniel, you don't get to bully us around here. <In Ballmer's Voice>
    henilp89 No, I want this. Backgrounds behind the tiles is hands down the dumbest thing I have ever heard and I'm glad that's not happening.
    <In Ballmer's Voice>
  • How about this and a start screen pattern as options? I like the tile skins but more options never hurt anyone (much)... In my honest opinion, a good background pattern with parallex effect and maybe a bit of opacity would make an additional option. They could even prevent you from using both options together if it'd suck.
  • Agreed
  • Daniel FTW! My thoughts exactly
  • When people say background without the tiles, they almost always mean with transparent tiles. Not a background thats barely visible.  The ONLY difference between that implementation and this one would be the black spaces between the tiles and above near the status bar would show wallpaper (the wallpaper would be continuous between the tiles and not broken as it is now). If anything that implementation will show MORE wallpaper than this with the exact same tile characteristics as this, not less as the broken implementation crowd seems to be twisting the concept towards. No one wants a wallpaper behind the tiles WITHOUT transparency, thats a strawman. Everyone that wants a wallpaper but not this usually wants this: http://static.hdw.eweb4.com/media/wp_400/1/2/10090.jpg and not this: http://www.antscomics.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/windows-phone-8-w...  
  • Id much prefer the implementaion you've put here from the antcomics website to the one microsoft will be giving us. This is best -->  http://www.infinitebinary.com/WP8/wp8.html
  • Judging from the hideous colors schemes on this website ( cyan on magenta ) I would say that your design sense is not as apt as you'd like think. I will refrain from calling the preference of other people "dumb" if I were you .    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-DupiUOphdMo/UxJBS7Sd2cI/AAAAAAAAA9A/JXI19rcJnc...
  • Well you know it's good to have options. You aren't the only wp user, there are million others who want start screen backgrounds. So yeah, options aren't a bad thing even if its dumb. I like the parallax effect but hate skinned tiles. Looks dumb to me :)
  • Lol❕... Good reply.. Made me laugh.
  • backgrounds.... you want a different color to the "borders' of your tiles lol, it's not like you will even see something if you put a image 
  • Dont put any tiles, you'll see the background
  • -720
  • As Daniel and others have stated, that idea is stupid and only works if you have no tiles on ur start screen. If that's what you want, go android. Also, that looks awesome.
  • +920
  • +520
  • Problem is 70+% of the users already go Android... If MS rather adds features they think they are cool than adding features that people actually want that number won't change.
  • Very good point❕
  • I just really don't see this background in the foreground working. From looking at my start screen and other peoples screenshots, most people just don't have enough theme coloured tiles for this to work.
  • Don't include me in the "we want" please I like that this is added, but personally I hate it, but accept that others will enjoy.
  • The borders around the tiles are roughly 10% of the screen. You wouldn't even be able to make out the background at all. Using that as a background is pretty much pointless.
  • Again, not necessarily so much if the background would seemlessly extend to the app list as well. Not saying I necessarily want it, just saying it could also be made to work fairly well.
  • Are people still wanting backgrounds! This waaaay more genuine, other platforms will start to cry when they see this, and they can't implement it as they don't have livetiles. WP8.1 super win!
  • I showed my phone to an iPhone friend and his comment was, "it looks too busy." As more apps offer transparent as a tile background (or whatever is needed) wp will be the slickest home screen anywhere.
  • Who's gonna praise the iOS home screen for being slick now ? No one ! (i think no one ever did btw)
  • If we still had start screen like in WP7 with blank area on right (Golden ratio), then your idea might have some weight. But as now tiles fill up whole screen, this is much better option.
  • I so miss the gutter on the right.
  • You're kidding. That was the biggest waste of screen real-estate ever. Killing it off was the best thing MS did. And there is still no need for the arrow at the bottom of the home screen in WP8. We all know what to do.
  • ^^This. That gutter is what makes the original WP start screen look extremely elegant.
  • Elegant? Put a 2" strip of cardboard down the right edge of your TV and tell me it's more elegant to only have 7/8 of the screen available to you. Madness.
  • +620, they should provide an option like that....to match Windows 8.1!
  • who is this we stuff >.> last time i checked i have my mouth to say what i want >.>
  • The only way I would care about background is if the tiles had transparency options. But even that would not be better than this. This is something completely different from the what's out.
  • We do want real backgrounds, but this is more than welcomed. Give us more options, that's all we want. Lol.. What about when you swipe to the left? Why can't there be a background over there to? It's flat out boring on that side and ya'll know this!
  • Because you could see so much off the background when it's behind the tiles... /s
  • Who's this "we" you speak of...?
  • I strongly agree with you,
  • Somewhat like this --> http://www.infinitebinary.com/WP8/wp8.html
  • Um, thats pretty dope - cant wait for release!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Seems faster.
  • Glad I'm not the only one who thinks so...
  • Damn it I was waiting for that comment..
  • Indubitably
  • As Satya Nadella would say: "ubiquitous"
  • Ubiquitous
  • Kinda jetpack joyride, but under water is cool!
  • Perfect! Love it!
  • This is very crazy....man this will blow everyone who says windows phones are monotonous...its getting more and more exciting..
  • Windows Phone has the most personal and dynamic Start screen of ALL platforms and this feature will even make WP more personal and dynamic! Damn, MSFT did an amazing job on this 8.1 update and I can't wait to test it out on my Lumia 920
  • Now iOS users would SURELY WANT TO SWITCH !!
  • Not if Apple invents this first.
  • Lol
  • Anyone who says thats doesn' know what monotonous mean. Kinda like everyone pinning "minimalist" to WP.
  • Goooooood!!!!!
  • Keep feeding us.
  • Combine this with a 3d phone and people would piss their pants.
  • It's hard to understate my disappointment that Microsoft didn't use WP 8.1 to bring WP to the same look that Windows 8 has. This? This is going to cause many people to have unreadable start screen icons due to the backgrounds they will choose. So silly.
  • My advice: use it for awhile before coming to a conclusion.
  • Fair enough. That I will do.
  • Im sure im gonna love it
  • Daniel, do you know if it automatically blurs the chosen picture or something? So that it looks easier for the eye?
  • It does not, but there are some good apps that do that on the Store already.
  • Daniel has been using Windows Phone 8.1 since February so he has some experience with not only the start screen but with......wait for it......Cortana as well.  
  • Why will someone choose something like that? Do you really think every user is an idiot?
  • No, but in this case, I was taking an Apple-ish view of the situation. I wouldn't let the user mess it up. However, I can't/won't pass judgement until I get it in my own hands. That's the only real way to know how this ends up looking.
  • Ahh, there's your mistake right there, " I was taking an Apple-ish view of the situation".   It's high time people stop doing that... and by high time, I mean it never should have been done.
  • How about you wait and see it before you cast judgement down from the heavens?  If people can pick their own background, I don't see why you should care if they pick one that doesn't work great.  You won't be using the phone. People like to make their phone their own, so not sure how anyone could construe this to be a negative.  If you don't like it, feel free to not use it.
  • My judgement is final! ;) Nah, I'll wait and see. The only thing I tend not to like about the black background of the Start Screen is that it seems a little harsh to be black only.  Like almost everything Microsoft, I'll come around to it eventually even if I get it and don't like it at first.
  • You can choose any color for the background as long as it's black or white!
  • +920
  • Wait until flood-gate opens with custom backgrounds...I am sure there are lots of creative people around here and would love to share their creative geniuses.
  • I love how you state that "this is going to cause many people to have unreadable start screen icons" because if that is the case they can CHOOSE a different picture. It allows choice and options.
  • Woman this update...
  • Wow that looks cool i was worried as Daniel Said about backgrounds they dont make sense in metro, but this is cool
  • Using a solid color for the background still doesn't change your accent color anywhere else in the OS. I'd like a color picker rather than this sort of solution.
  • I hope they have the "Show More Tiles" for 720 with its 4.3 inch screen :)
  • +820 (for my L820 tho)
  • the smallest size of tiles is already quite small @ 4.3", dunno why you'd want to reduce it further...
  • So any guesses when dev preview will come?
  • What guesses? I have answered that question a half dozen times already.
  • To be fair you haven't. You said it may be 2nd April. Then said it may be delayed by a week. When people said, "so 9th?", you left them guessing :P
  • It would be nice if we could have the option to put a background BEHIND the tiles, I know it wouldn't be that visible but with a proper image it could look good. This paralax background looks awesome, I'm not complaining.
  • I love it but why nit both at the same time...put an image of a beautiful beach in the skinned background and then a beautiful wallpaper like background around the skin...so it actually looks like you are looking through a window with a beautiful view!
  • I love it! But why not have both at the same time...Then you put a background image of a beautiful beach inside the skinned tiles and then put a background of a beautiful wallpaper ( like the real patterned one that you would put on a wall) or paneling or even a bamboo wall...then it would actually look as if you were looking through a window...everytime you look at your phone you could daydream about your long overdue vacation that you would like to take but don't have either the time or money to make happen...then you would get lost in your phone without ever opening an app only to get wrestled back to reality when a call comes through with a jarring ring! This would be great!
  • http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m7h3k1cQF41r4wyx0o5_r2_250.gif
  • Will all the features of the windows 8.1 be available for 512 ram devices too...daniel please reply..thanks!!
  • Yes
  • As far as MS is concern, it is going to be available to all phones, currently running WP8.
  • Except maybe the 3 column tiles
  • The video was recorded via iPhone :D
  • How so. That image looks like a 920. Nice try though
  • Read his comment properly.
  • :)
  • Hmmmm...that's why it is so crappy.. :/
  • koi nahi ek hafte me khud he dekh lene apne phone me ;)
  • This looks really pretty in action. I am glad it isn't a static image. It makes the start screen look more aliiiive.
  • Really sweet looking. Can't wait!
  • Anyone else worried that it's going to take ages for third-parties especially but even Microsoft to update app tiles to take advantage of the background image? It's a shame currently when half the tiles are using your accent colour and the other half blatantly ignoring it e.g. Skydrive, Facebook, Twitter etc. I think this is still going to be a problem with 8.1 background images.
  • You're assuming they have to update. Look at the lede image and see the WPCentral app. Devs don't need to update.
  • Yep, I did assume you guys may have updated your app. Very happy to hear it isn't necessary! (Still, OneDrive there with the ugly blue though...)
  • I *think* it's dependent on if the Tile is a "live tile" or not. Something like OneDrive doesn't ever change, but I'm not 100% sure.
  • It's based on whether the tile image is a translucent .png or a solid color .png. Any app tile that currently follows the accent color is a translucent .png and will have the parallax effect.
  • Must be. The tiles which work with accent colour right now, they dont need to be updated i guess. Just as you change accent colours, the tile colour changes, similarly the image should be put in place.
  • I'm afraid it can end up being a visual mess, one thing is to have the start screen backgrounds to use all the tiles, another is to have some tiles with parts of the background image mixed with solid color tiles like OneDrive. It gets even worse when you think of the live tiles. Since it might be hard to read info using a background image, Microsoft might use solid colors for live tiles when they display info, mixing them with the tiles using the background. I like the parallax effect and all, but I really think it goes against the philosophy they had for WP where live tiles and your info would be center, that's the purpose of the start screen! I do think the tiles' background is more of a "form over function" thing. I remember that a color picker for accents was not available back in WP8 launch because they said not every color would make the live tiles readable, and now they show us this. They're doing it just because most consumers still don't get that the apps they put on the start screen are the customization of WP, not a background image or accent they use. I feel that it is a step backwards to what makes WP different and better.
  • It has to do with whether the tile uses the accent color (Store, Messages, etc) or not (Bible, OneDrive, etc). If your tile uses the accent color it is transparent and shows the background. If not, it looks just as it does today.
  • Yeah, that's weird.  There's a bunch of apps like that in the video too.  I wonder what decides which are transparent and which are colored.
  • Clarification: "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."
  • It's pretty simple really.  If the app lets you use the theme color it will show the background image. If it is a static color (OneDrive, Facebook, etc) it will not.
  • Looks like it is any app that uses the theme color.
  • So Daniel you admit that you have a phone running WP8.1 ;)
  • The way I understand it is that apps that already "respect" the accent color, they will also do this transparency effect. This is because devs set the background of their tiles as transparent, and it's up to the OS to decide what to do with that space.
  • Exactly, i think you are right
  • Long live WP 8.1
  • Will definitely use it would be ever better if a weather app can out an image of current conditions and the weather forecast on the actual lockscreen
  • Very interesting idea! You could even have the tiles cycle through photos! There is a lot of merit to this idea.
  • That's an idea for Amazing Weather HD developer...Not sure thought if changing background image can be automated.
  • I like my wp8 the way it is. Background behind the with transparent screen is better for Lumia icon. It wont be suitable for other Lumia devices.
  • Why? Explain yourself...
  • That what I want....eagerly waiting for Cherry Blossom Pink
  • I understand why WPCentral likes this look. It is unique but its not consistent. On my Windows PC and tablet it looks very different. Why cant Microsoft provide us with choice? Let those that want true background images have that over this. Honestly I personally think it looks incredibly ugly. Like a bad custom rom. But I do like personalization via real background images. Such a simple thing to implement....
  • I see the point, but nothing is final. By that I mean who's to say the Windows team won't implement something similar?
  • Well, I hope they do. Like I said I want consistency between the two systems, even in features that I wont use/dont like.   But they wont remove features. Windows 8 has background images and I love it. If they want consistency then they should also allow it on WP.
  • But you wouldn't see the background image at all while on the home screen, and it would make the app list look really cluttered and odd. I really don't understand this request. Unless you're suggesting that the tiles don't take up the phone's entire screen (like in Windows 8), which I would Love, but that's clearly not going to happen.
  • It wouldnt look weird at all. Check this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6P-uXwG-18   This clip demonstrates how to make WP customizable in such a way that you can keep the old appearance or have it look like Windows 8. Halfway through it shows how the startscreen and applist would look with wallpaper. Looks awesome.
  • I agree, that video should be the ultimate goal. The proverbial "Surface Phone".  There's no reason why MS can't give us the option to do the parallax and/or this Windows 8/Surface Phone look.  Give us the whole kitchen sink and let the "user" decide.
  • I agree with your point, but
    But they wont remove features.
     is plain wrong. They removed contextual search on both WP7.5 and W8.1 and forced feed us with gimpy Bing. Now as an effect, annoying little seach buttons are scattered everywhere.
  • Funny enough I was just thinking about that. They indeed removed that but it was because people didnt use it / were confused by it. Microsoft should have improved it / made it more clear instead of removing it. You are right regarding this feature.   But the ability to add your wallpaper to your startscreen was a much demanded feature. Can you really see them removing it?
  • If MS can learn from their mistakes, they won't be removing it. I do see MS correcting themselves from time to time tho. Well, one is Windows 8.1 and Update 1. The other that I can think of is when they made WP Bing combine the local and web search results into one tab, and then reverted back to the original way. They learned that Bing is not as smart as they think.
  • Hopefully Albert Shum is still on the design team and won't let something so tasteless pass.
  • "personally" I dont see the point of back ground images. Do people unlock their phone and just stare at their background image without doing anything? Do they set up a blank page or nearly blank page so that they can see the picture better when they unlock their phone and stare at it and not use it? You can set a custom lock screen on windows phone, you don't even have to slide or swipe to unlock and you can stare at it all you want.
  • Its not about staring at it, its about changing the overall look of the device/having moire choice in the overall look. Take a look at this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6P-uXwG-18   You might not be able to see the image very well but it definately changes the appearance of the device. Brings more color to it. Some people like it. Its the look Windows 8 has as well. It would be an additional reason to bring Windows users over to WP.
  • How do you like it if you're greeted with a beautiful scenery background picture when you swipe your phone to app list? Or would you rather see them always on black or white?
  • Greaaaatt!
  • Will all phones be able to add the extra tiles ?
  • As it says in the article: "it's not clear if there will be display size restrictions" I hope it'll be available for all phones :P
  • That is cool as hell YES PLEASE
  • I take back my previous opinion: Didn't want this feature to be like 'Skinery Tiles', but the parallax effect makes it AWESOMELY BEAUTIFUL. Really liked to see it in action.
  • The leaks! The leaks!!
  • The leaks are on fire..... we don't need no water because... .........ughhh someone......what''s the next verse????
  • We don't need no water let the mother f***er burn!
  • HOT
  • First I was also sceptical about the background on the tiles, but with the paralax, I like it more now.
  • Ya. That looks pretty freakin sweet.
  • I take back what I said- this looks wonderful
  • Ooh, I like that!  I was unconvinced by the stills but the mixture of flat-coloured and background tiles looks fantastic.
  • What's up with that picture, guys. That Cortana icon is looking good.
  • Rumor has it the circle icon moves/breathes on the Live Tile.
  • Video.... Or it never happened ;)
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkgJwGzsn3Y&list=UUf5fvHSrbK-2KNzEXeQasCQ Look at the Cortana tile before the guy touches it.
  • AKA "I cannot tell you until the NDA/my agreement with my WP8.1 supplier(s) has been lifted next week."
  • Still looks stu*id. Yeah this is good.. but why can't just let the user choose background image?! Not just black/white background color! Why?! Grr!
  • I DONT NEED IT, I DONT NEED IT, I NEEEEEEEEEED IIIIITTTTTTTTT
  • It's ok
  • It's ok, it happens sometimes. My advice - do some Yoga :)
  • Where is the video? Could someone take a link please, thx for earlier)!
  • If you look at the top bar, one of the icons towards the left is a little notification icon... Perhaps to say if you have notifications in general
  • Found it, sorry
  • Yeah! More tiles... :D
  • Adding both images or a video clip would be stunning
  • Video would kill your battery, so probably not.
  • This.... Is.... Nuts. Total game changer. MS is pulling out all the cards on this one.
  • Hmm interesting.  Devs can get creative with their live tile designs. If you design it in such a way with some transparent and solid areas, icon designs could start to get pretty crazy! 
  • I only read comments which Daniel reply. Saves great time.
    keep commenting, i feel them worthy of reading.
  • Lucky D.R. Has discriminating taste.
  • Discriminating taste as in?
  • He doesn't respond to everything, ergo he discriminates on items that are nonsensical and worthy of a retort or great ideas.
  • Looking forward to this. Would love to see WP support the ability to rotate the phone & its tiles into landscape mode. When I'm in my car, I mount it sideways for use with HERE Drive. Unfortunately not all screens rotate to this orientation (IE. main start screen, phone dialer & XBox music).  If it can be done on a Surface RT/Pro, the same functionality should work on Windows Phone.
  • I agree that this is something that's missing. At least the main soft buttons (back, home, search) seem to rotate now.
  • hey guys look now that we're actually getting closer to the reveal, all of our speculative bitching is being put to rest!  there's clearly so much to be seen, so lets behave for 5 days and leave the assumptuous, incindiary comments in the dumpster. the paralax effect is gorgeous; something that my zune hd does (just a little) and adds a very premium and polished sense of design to everything.
  • Non-Metro.. I'll pass
  • It replaces theme color with a picture. In what way is that non-Metro (non-Modern)?
  • Its not an Xbox live game, don't add it! /s
  • I fucking love it!
     
  • lumia for life  
  • Daniel, do you think we will have picture passwords like in Windows 8.1? Thx
  • This was one feature I wanted more than Cortana.
  • Countdown to users complaining the parallax effect makes them sick like iOS7...
  • There probably will be an off switch, like IOS 7.
  • Interested to see how this works. Can you make EVERY tile a background tile? How do you choose which ones dont show the picture? Or is this dev enabled?
  • Still unconvinced
  • Of what?
  • Meh... Not impressed
  • Ok, keep calm and keep walking...
  • I didn't watch the video, sorry. But is this Parallax effect like what IOS 7 does?
  • No, that's a poor 3D effect on iOS. If you have the app MagnifyBETA, you'll get the idea; if not, download it!
  • if you can't apply your background to all tiles your startscreen will look odd look at onedrive tile from the first picture and bing apps from video its ruining the whole idea of background image
  • Waiting for the 5x0 - 7x0 users to start on why theirs doesn't support this..
  • WHAT ABOUT WP 7.8 YOU MONSTER *sobs hysterically*
  • iOS: Poor looking, well functioning.
    Android: Good looking, poor functioning.
    Windows Phone: Good looking, well functioning. WP for life!
  • +620
  • Were it not for the parallax effect, it would've looked rubbish. This got me SO excited that I've decided to hold off my search for the HTC One M7. Bring it on April 2nd!
  • I just love the new transitions! I can't get over how nice they look now.
    I really hope third party apps look the same for transitions as well...
  • God! That looks better than how it sounds on paper.
  • The scrolling thing makes this actually cool to use. WP8.1 is getting closer!
  • I hope the Show More tiles option will be there for 4.3 screens too. Think of us L820, L720 and 8X users.
  • That actually looks REALLY good...probably not with that color, though. It's like a window pane!
  • Has anyone noticed how the X is still in the multitasking view? Isn't it supposed to vanish or something now that the 'slide to close' apps wil be supported?
  • I think it said before somewhere that the X will remain there and both methods will be available to close apps.
  • Hmm me no like it...
  • me neither :/   WHY!! oh WHY!!?
  • +520
  • What is the third icon on the top bar? Looks like some kind of card.....what exactly is that?
  • More and more, this update is going to be a greater leap than WP7 to WP8.
  • I really disliked the idea of having a background picture, since it would be covered by tiles and cluttered - but I love the way MS implemented this and lets tiles be transparent. A really neat idea.
  • Heh saw there in the color options a Finnish word "kirkkaan vihreä", which means "bright green".. Supposed that ui was in Chinese? :-D Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • why was there random finnish?
    kirkkaan vihreä = bright green.  
  • Maybe done by a finnish developer (at Nokia?) before the relevant code to detect language had ben put in?
  • Sooo happy that I've signed up for the dev preview! #heart Can't wait!
  • Heh, funny how the name of the color is in Finnish. :) A nice option to have, although slightly dishartening to see the Iron Glad Flat Design Box being pried open more and more.. :P
  • Giggity! I already like this feature in the Magnify app. This would look great for 8.1.
  • That was the first thing that came to my mind.
  • Looks nice to me. But really have to try out...
  • I hope its real!
  • Woah, this is going to be awesome. 8.1 cannot arrive soon enough.
  • Ew... what is this? Looks really cheap to me. I need a new background color -_- like, it's so simple! come on MS. Still black or white? i'll pass.
  • Make a solid color on a picture, use that instead and, Bam, you van have any color you like.
  • I mean background behind tiles  >:(
  • Come on, not a second thought, just aweeeeeeeesome, barney style :-D
  • Beauty
  • While I do not like the way that particular background worked, I love the potential :-)
  • I just wish that wp should have gone with the notification center from swipe from left edge of screen to the right, this simply apes the android and iPhone notification center
  • Ok, thats hot!
  • Dan, will 925 will get three column support?
    Thanks :)
  • Hopefully, 4.5"+ will support three columns.
  • Hmmm, i like it.
  • What is parallax view
  • Look closely and you can see that when pulling action center tiles are pushed back(zoomed out). Nice touch!
  • That is neat!
  • OMG, that's awesome. Can't wait to July-August to get it on my phone (because that's when my carrier is gonna release it).
  • Download developer preview app and you won't have to wait for updates anymore.
  • How can I do this? I need this for yesterday!
  • Go to dev.windowsphone.com and create a developer account.  Then on your phone go to the store and search for "preview for developers" and install the app.
  • Truth is i'm already on Dev Preview Program and i installed Microsoft's Update 3 this way. But i regreat it. My phone ended all buggy and crashy. I have restore it like 3 times and in every time, new and different bugs appear.
  • Rather Neat!!
  • droolworthy
  • I think this background image thing is cool but what is the notification icon to the right of the WiFi signal for?
  • This parallax effect
  • Microsoft needs to allow the games, Xbox,onedrive, office tiles be transparent. We all know what there icons look like, so the color doesn't matter
  • If this isn't available, it'll add to those little annoyances that are just plain stupid to be left out/not improved properly. Like the case with the M8, where the camera is the same crap as last year's.
  • YES!! sometimes they are annoying now (when the color don't combine nicely with the accent), it will be even worse with BG image.
  • And this parallax, window like view is dope!!!!
  • The best thing is that i can change to 3 columns :)
  • I am hoping that after all these 8.1 updates,my phone won't hang like those usually happens with android
  • I had wondered how they would deal with scrolling (would the image scroll with the tiles or not at all). I personally wasn't a fan of this feature, but seeing the parallax effect when scrolling makes it so much cooler.
  • Looks so cool to me, if don't like change to Android
  • It's great if you try it in the real HD screen
  • Wow, love the way they've implemented background images on the start screen! Can't wait!
  • I'm loving the "parallax" thingy man!!!!
  • I noticed that the jump list in the video has captial letters instead of lower case letters. Together with the switch to "Store", they seem to be slowly killing off the lower case headings.
  • Looks Awesome! Love the scrolling! I've noticed in a number of shots that some icons don't display the background. I'm assuming they are leaving it up to developers to support this option on their live tile. They should have a "Force Background on all Live Tiles" checkbox....
  • That option would be SO SWEET!! Are there any Chinese watching this here?
  • Parlalax seems like a novelty, I turned it off on my iPhone.
  • And we care why???
  • NICE NICE
  • Whatever they do, background image or the start screen image, they should just extend it to the right pane where the app list comes
  • I was let down this wasn't available. That's when background image comes in mind...
  • If all this is happening then I say: "Yes!". This kind of customization is going to be a great transition in efforts of keeping things fresh and new for WP8 users. I will be truly proud of MS for once if this happens
  • No doubt the iFanboys will scream copycats...
  • Looks fantastic.. parallax definitely makes the background picture work really well. Lets hope the delay of a week is for the developer preview and when its available we'll get it to. Can't wait looks awesome. Now going to watch 'The Machine' and have a beer...... hope Cortana is as good as I'm expecting. I'm ready for 8.1 bring it on...
  • Ps. This couldn't be more different than ios....and android its a breath of fresh air. Watching the machine on BT vision on hd only only 87 percent downloaded.
  • Well that is probably the best way they could have implemented that. Awesome
  • That. Looks. Awesome!
  • Will parallax view work on 525?
  • They should have a blurred effect option .
  • Use a photo app and add that filter then use the new blurred pic as the background.
  • It would be also awesome Parallax, if they will implement on LockScreen with Background - Clock and other Events with fonts :)
  • They should add avability to change 'black' background. Not only black and white but some 'theme' would be nice.
  • That would be a nice extra... just like in windows
  • I hope this enables 3 rows of tiles for the 920.
  • How about they fix the terrible multitasking while on a phone call. Also add lots of features to the built in mail client. Hopefully IE11 will be seriously upgraded. Wish they'd allow appropriate APIs for Firefox and web kit browsers such as chrome. WP really could benefit from alternative browsers that aren't just shells that run over trident engine.
  • No judgment until I try it myself. Hopefully few other surprises on Wednesday.
    1. More email client features.
    2. Re-organized settings menu
    3. Categorized Apps list with an option for grid view. Please align to the left.
  • This is actually better than I thought it would be.
    The leaked images did not seem that good, but now that I'm looking at the video, I definitely want it!!!
  • I'd rather have a real background than that, but heck new features are always welcome.
  • PARALLAX. Bring on the starfield theme...
  • and I keeping my fingers cross
  • Oh my God?! are you kidding me?!
  • Wait! The video was posted by WPC on Youtube it seems!
  • Whoa
  • Did anyone notice the image selector is changed and fast?
  • I hope they have fixed the loading...resuming..stuff and the OS is more smooth, fast and that the background tasks work well.Give me these alone and i will be happy
  • It would be good if we could change the background color too. I think it would be more customizable, and it is a simple thing. Maybe in the future.
  • Damn..its lovely!!
  • I have no idea why this comment showed up here, was supposed to be on main tread.
  • So, does this mean that Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview will launch the 2nd April after all? Seems finished to me.   -- Note: this one was also supposed to be on main tread.
  • I'm not sure... On a previous article they said that MS were working on some bug fixes, so the developer preview app will update will be delayed around a week, but hey, they might be able to fix the bugs in time for 2nd of April. Who knows.
  • WOW !!! this looks so Damn Awesome !!!!!
  • I think its a shame that some third party apps, and some of the integrated apps, tiles don't work with the image (like music app), i hope MS are working on that too :)
  • Okay, at first I was a bit apprehensive about the background being mapped to the tiles, but after watching the background move the way it did, this truly impressed me. Definitely makes it worthy of the name "Windows."
  • Looks so great that the background doesn't move with the tiles! Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • Took the video with a Nokia phone!
  • Is the 4.5" restriction on tile number confirmed? If so, it gives me another reason to regret my HTC 8x... I wouldn't care if the smallest tiles were microscopical, let me decide! 
  • I like the way MS is going with the background images. It will be better than just looking at a bunch of colored tiles. Thanks for the link Rockman, I had to watch it twice before I noticed the circle was actually moving.
  • I wonder if this will be like the fancy iOS7 motion effect they added behind the icons and spent millions on figureing out how to do it only to have EVERYONE hate it and turn it off after about 1 day :P
  • Will this update come to Nokia 520?