Project Neon, Acrylic and the next release of Windows 10

January 11th, 2017 by Stephen Jones Leave a reply »

It seems that the next release of Windows 10 features the outcome of Project NEON’ - a user interface upgrade. It seems that it will be a lot like Windows 7 Aero with a dash of Windows Phone and Android’s Material Design mixed in.

The first alterations will appear in the (horribly named) ‘Creators Update’, which follows last year’s (equally horribly named) ‘Anniversary Update’. (Why not Windows 10.1 and 10.2? )

The Creators Update will appear in April with a full rollout of Project Neon not due until ‘Redstone 3’ (which Microsoft will not call Windows 10.3) in the latter half of 2017. The Creators preview build includes a ‘green screen of death’ to help find bugs in the updated software. Microsoft changed things to green in an effort to more easily distinguish Windows Insider reports vs the reports of those on production builds. however, “Released versions of Windows 10 will continue to have the classic blue colour, including the final release of the Windows 10 Creators Update.”

Windows 10 went too far for some with its minimalism and the new focus on animations, depth and consistency is a return to a more intuitive interface. A new component called ‘Acrylic’, adds blur to the background, sidebar and navigation within an app. Acrylic is combined with what Microsoft calls the ‘Conscious UI’ and ‘Connected Animations’ where the former reacts to whatever is behind the current app or window and the latter is much like Material Design where the UI animates to show a transition between actions. For example the shrinking of a musician’s image when your start scrolling down their discography in Groove Music.

The changes in Project Neon will be seen throughout Windows 10, e.g. in Outlook Mail, Calendar. There is now more response to simple actions like a mouse pointer passing over different elements of the UI. The taskbar will also change in future.

Other new features that appear in this build include:

Tile Folders in Start: To converge experiences across devices, this build will be able to group Start tiles into folders. Tile folders are a way to organize and personalize tiles in Start, and in Windows 10 PCs. To get started, drag and drop a tile on top of another tile in Start to create a folder.

Updated Windows Share experience: Microsoft has redesigned the Windows sharing experience to be more app-focused and integrated with from wherever you are sharing . The new Windows Share experience will pop-up the new share flyout within the app you are sharing from and give you a list of applications to which you can share. This list changes based on your usage.

This coming build of Microsoft’s Windows 10 shows adverts sneaking in to more spaces than ever before, meaning users could soon be overloaded. The adverts will primarily be seen in the updated version of the Windows 10 Share tool. This makes it easy to share photos and the like with friends and followers using Mail, Messenger, OneDrive, Twitter and more. Share will also soon offer links to other services for you to download (which I see as an advert).

Microsoft is also now displaying pop-up adverts to users of the Chrome or Firefox internet browser that show the benefits of its own Microsoft Edge browser. Edge improvements include:

Tab preview bar: Tab preview bar allows you to easily glance at a visual preview of every tab you have open without leaving your page. You can scroll through the list with touch,

Flash Click-to-Run: Microsoft Edge will now block untrusted Flash content by default until the user explicitly chooses to play it.
This means better security, stability, and performance for you, while preserving the option to run Flash when you choose.

Web Payments: Microsoft Edge now has preview support for the new Payment Request API, which allows sites to make checkout easier using the payment and shipping preferences stored in your Microsoft Wallet.

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