The New Windows Phone 8 Start Screen Is Beautiful

Windows Phone 7 already has a nice home screen (or Start Screen as Microsoft calls it), and Windows Phone 8 will make it look even better.

The new Start Screen for Windows Phone 8 will still have the live tiles of Windows Phone 7, but users will have much more control over them. The new Start Screen has three sizes for those live tiles. The large squares and rectangles of Windows Phone 7 are still present, and joining them is a new, smaller square. The smaller square takes up a quarter of the area of the large squares.

Each of those tiles are still live tiles, but the function changes based on the size. For example: a large rectangle for the messaging app will preview new messages, a large square will show the count and an emoticon based on the size of the number, and a small square will simply show the speech bubble symbol and the number of messages.

The end result looks a bit busy at first. After a second glance, however, we think it looks like the perfect way to blend the static icons of iOS and the widgets of Android. Power users can choose to fill their Start Screen with tiny squares that still give updates without the annoying badges of iOS, and, in addition, more social users can fill the screen with rectangles that give previews of every message they received in every app.

To make the new Start Screen even better, Microsoft will bring it to Windows Phone 7.8, so current Windows Phone users will get to use it.

The option to add more apps to the Start Screen is a great feature for Windows Phone 8, and this is an elegant way to please users who wanted more, and users who love the large live tiles. The new Smart Screen makes a switch to Windows Phone 8 very tempting, especially if we see some great new dual-core phones with 720p displays.