Next generation “touch-first” Windows Live apps in the works

We’ve seen Microsoft’s next generation operating system Windows 8 a few months ago, featuring a brand new “immersive” interface that makes it really intuitive to use on touch-based devices such as tablets. As mentioned during D9, they designed Windows 8 to be “touch-first”, meaning that while traditional inputs such as keyboard and mouse are still supported, other methods of input such as touch and finger gestures are at the front of their mind when designing the new interface. Microsoft demonstrated a new touch-optimized version of Internet Explorer 10 during the D9 conference. which follows the new “metro” design language seen in Windows Phones. We’ve also previously seen leaked screenshots of a “Modern Reader” built-in app which is optimized for touch.

It seems like not only the built-in applications in Windows 8 will be “touch-first”, but the Windows Live suite of apps will also be following this new design paradigm. According to a recent Microsoft job posting (via All About Microsoft), the Windows Live Digital Memories team is currently working on a series of apps that has a focus on “touch-first” experiences:

The next version of Windows, codenamed “Windows 8” (http://j.mp/win8jlg), emphasizes touch-first, modern experiences. Want to get involved? Come join the team building photos/videos experiences for the new platform. We believe in shipping fast, fluid, immersive experiences to consumers, enabling them to effortlessly do spectacular things. Past work from this team includes Photo e-mail (http://j.mp/wlmphomail), Photo Fuse (http://j.mp/wlpgpf), Pano Stitch (http://j.mp/wlpgps), and AutoMovie (http://j.mp/wlmmam). We’re now working on new touch-oriented experiences that allow the hundreds of millions of consumers easily communicate with their friends. We offer an environment where you can channel your creativity towards software innovation, work with world-class software engineers and hone your professional skills to grow your career.

We are seeking a great developer who will help build the next generation of touch-oriented e-mail experiences for consumers. You will be working with an experienced group of developers with a successful track record of building new experiences such as those found in Windows Live Writer and Windows Live Mail. You will be expected to contribute to the development and implementation of the technical direction for the team.

We have seen the “Live Tiles” for several Windows Live-related apps on the Windows 8 Start screen, such as the ones below showing the Email, Messaging, Calendar, and Social Tiles:

Email-Tile_thumb News Messaging-Tile_thumb News
Calendar-Tile_thumb News Social-Tile_thumb News

Nothing has been revealed about what’s behind these Live Tiles. Brian Hall, General Manager of Windows Live & Internet Explorer, had been mum about the relationship between Windows Live and Windows 8. However, recent rumors from WinBeta.com suggested that “a ton of new *.live.com services are being worked on and will be tightly integrated with Windows 8.” The future of Windows Live certainly sounds exciting.

The job post also mentions that the team is looking for someone with expertise in “Trident/MSHTML, HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript”. Given that the current Windows Live Essentials suite of applications are based on various versions .NET Framework, Silverlight, Visual C++, and Compact SQL, what will happen to these applications? Microsoft mentioned during D9 that apps on Windows 8 will be based on HTML5 and JavaScript, will we be seeing HTML5 versions of Windows Live apps? The rumors about a potential HTML5 version of Hotmail replacing Windows Live Mail definitely suggests this might well be the direction where the future of Windows Live is heading towards.

We hope more details will be revealed during the BUILD conference in September. Stay tuned!