The Live Tiles featured on Windows computers, tablets and smartphones already offer quick information and notifications at a glance, but Microsoft has plans to make them do even more in a future update. A new video filmed at the company’s offices in Asia shows how Microsoft researchers are working to make Live Tiles interactive, letting you do even more without needing to open an app.
A number of Live Tiles in this version of Windows act like widgets, giving the user the ability to find more information and sometimes even use an entire app without ever opening it entirely. Expanding the news app shows more stories, for example, while expanding the music app lets you play songs and even see the lyrics. We also see a functioning calculator and an interactive camera Live Tile that lets you snap a photo from the Start screen.
The goal of introducing interactive Live Tiles is to get more people using the Modern Start screen rather than jumping straight to the traditional desktop. To that end, Microsoft is developing a Desktop Live Tile which lets you open Office apps while also showing the date and time. Tap on one Office app and it launches straight into desktop mode with the program already running.
There’s no guarantee we’ll ever seen these interactive Live Tiles make it onto an official version of Windows, but this seems like a logical next step for the operating system. The ability to run multiple apps at once on the same screen could help turn Microsoft’s controversial Metro UI into a handy productivity tool instead of simply serving as a redesigned Start Menu with notifications. Hopefully we’ll see this feature announced in time for Windows 9, until then you can check out the full video below.