Skip to main content

Xiaomi Is Reviving Windows Phone’s Interface — with a Twist

Microsoft’s Windows Phone came way too late to rival Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android, but it arguably had the best user interface experience, all thanks to its Live Tiles.

Now, Xiaomi seems to be resuscitating this UI for the new Mix Mix 3 phone — with a twist.

Credit: Xiaomi

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

Live Tiles were the best thing about Windows Phone. They allowed you to look at your phone and gather lots of information at a glance. Each tile, which you placed on the screen as you wanted, corresponded to an app. The weather tile always showed the current weather; the messenger tile showed your latest messages and the pending count; the calendar tile pictured your incoming events... you get the idea.

MORE: Xiaomi's Cheap Mi Mix 3 Puts Every Other Flagship to Shame

Live Tiles were a great way to use your phone by just looking at the screen, without actually having to use it.
Now it seems that Xiaomi wants to revive the tiles for its own interface. Showed briefly at today’s presentation of the company’s new flagship — the impressive $475 Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 — the new user interface seems to mimic the Windows Phone UI.

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Nobody knows yet exactly how these tiles will work, though. The presentation didn’t show them in action, and the description in Xiaomi’s official product page doesn’t have much detail, describing how you can use the tiles and the slide mechanism to go straight to the app your want, presumably from a lock screen?

I can imagine different ways this works but, from the web page text, it sounds like this is a special full-screen tile launcher that gets activated when you slide down the display from any place in the OS. That will allow users to see a bunch of information at a glance, having the option to click on the tile to go straight to the app. Then, closing the sliding display would return you to the exact place you were before.

If it works that way, it makes sense and it seems like a rather convenient UI device to multitask without much effort. I like the idea a lot, but we haven’t been able to see it in action in any of the hands-on videos we have seen on the internet so far.

We have reached to Xiaomi to clarify, but we haven’t heard from them back yet. We will update when we learn more about this feature.

Jesus Diaz

Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story and wrote old angry man rants, among other things. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce, and currently writes for Fast Company and Tom's Guide.