Sunday, October 14, 2012
Posted by Saad Hashmi at 2:18 PM —
It appears Microsoft is getting ready for a big retail push with Windows 8 computers, tablets, and Windows Phone 8 device and as expected there are bound to be a few leaks. On Saturday, Neowin received photos of an impending in-store display that is going to be installed in a Best Buy. That's a great sign and likely a part of Microsoft's massive marketing budget, but the promotional materials may have let slip some new details.
As you can see in the image above, an instructional sign likely for demonstration units tells customers to "Swipe up, down, left, or right to explore Live Apps". What exactly are Live Apps? At first there was quite a bit of speculation, suggesting this could be a new feature or possibly a revamped multitasking system we haven't seen yet. It's also worth noting that this term is not confused in the promotional materials with Live Tiles, since the image below clearly uses Live Tiles in reference to updating glanceable information.
Thanks to the investigative skills of WPCentral, we now know the answer though it's a little less exciting than early theories. Live Apps is apparently Microsoft's new term for Windows Phone apps that make use of Live Tiles. It makes some sense, considering that lots of apps simply don't have a use for live tiles, but it also might cause some people to believe one category of apps is superior. Regardless, that's all there is to this term.
However, WPCentral did not come back empty-handed and did in fact deliver some new information in regards to multitasking. The site claims that native apps have the ability to instantly resume from where you left off. Currently, apps have to restart if you tap on its live tile or from the app list even if it's already running in the background. Unfortunately, most apps will still have to deal with that frustrating stop-and-go behavior since the instant resume will not be available for third-party developers — unless they're making a GPS app, which get a special exemption.
We are actually quite concerned about app behavior remaining the same, especially in Windows Phone 8 with the new Start screen. There's a greater chance more people will tap on a live tile rather than backtrack through their apps, because the new Start screen now allows so many apps to be pinned for easy access. That means the likelihood of running into this restarting behavior could be greater, and usability will become a concern for everyone and not just the power users.
This is all tentative and unconfirmed, but we're expecting answers in just about two weeks from now. Stay tuned.
Source: Neowin, WPCentral