Any Minute Now: Windows Store Preview Debuts
As this blog is posted, Microsoft is making last-minute improvements to its hotly anticipated Windows 8 Consumer Preview build, whose late-February launch will coordinate with the preview launch of Windows Store. Windows 8 and the store will both use Microsoft's Metro UX – first introduced on Zune and Windows Phone – that earned several IDEA2011 awards from the Industrial Designers Association of America in September of last year.
If you haven't played with Metro yet, you should. Start by visiting the redesigned Windows Dev Center (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/br229518), download Windows 8 Developer Preview and Microsoft's preliminary toolkit, and install them on a free partition. You'll immediately see what folks are raving about: Metro is a radical departure from conventional Windowed UIs, employing sliding-pane, floating control/widget, and other interface tropes derived from contrary but related innovations. On the one hand, Metro clearly embraces UX best-practice from small mobile devices, digital appliances and tablets – use-cases where ease, clarity, minimalism, and hyper-effective balanced use of limited screen real-estate are critical. Seeing Metro on a big multiscreen desktop PC, though, shows that the new UX also works well in less-limited circumstances, and makes me think about the potential for putting Metro on epic-scale touchscreens, like the Samsung SUR40 running Microsoft Surface 2.0 (http://www.samsunglfd.com/solution/sur40.do).
Cut the Rope and Prototype Inheritance Candy