The New York Times' Nick Bilton poses an interesting question on the Bits blog on February 25: Should and could PC operating systems look more like mobile operating systems?
In Microsoft's case, that would mean Windows would get an overhaul so that multi-touch became the primary way users would interact with their PCs. Those "live tiles" that Microsoft demonstrated as part of Windows Phone 7 in Barcelona a week ago would become the default way users would interact with their "hubs" and applications. The horizontal scrolling menus familiar to us Zune HD users would replace the libraries and lists of files, music, pictures and other information stored on PCs.
Bilton talks about how much rewriting of the Mac OS would likely be needed to replace the current UI with a touch-centric one. Microsoft's Windows 7 already has a lot of touch capabilities built in, but touch is still an afterthought, not a key input method, on the vast majority of Windows 7 machines. And for political, technical or whatever other combination of reasons, Microsoft has not backed the use of its Windows Mobile/Windows Phone OS for slates and tablets; it has encouraged partners to use plain-old Windows.
I am a fan of the Zune HD interface (the Windows Phone 7 adaptation of which is codenamed "Metro"). It's intuitive and attractive, with its chunky type and lots of "white space." But I'm still not ready to give in and say I want to use touch as my primary interaction method on my laptop. I still use a mouse and keyboard and want to continue to use those input methods when using a PC.
But what if I could switch interfaces -- use the Metro interface on a PC when I'm on a plane, train or other space-constrained environment, but a keyboard and a mouse when I need to get real work done? That might be useful.
What about you? Would you be in favor of Microsoft making the new Windows Phone user interface the default on Windows 8 or Windows 9 PCs?
[poll id = 38]
Could/should the Windows UI team borow a page from the Windows Phone book?