Windows 10 will get a substantial facelift with Project Neon
You may recall when Microsoft launched Windows 10 a little ways back it declared Windows 10 was the last version of Windows ever, and that subsequently all new versions would simply be updated builds of the software. Of course, that didn’t mean there wouldn’t be major overhauls and oodles of new features added as technology progresses in the future – Windows would not stagnate, that would be rather daft, after all. Nope, it just meant Microsoft was taking a more fluid approach similar to how Apple develops and distributes macOS, rather than carrying on with the same old plodding approach we’ve been used to.
Now MSPowerUser has got hold of the first leak of the next major Windows design update, dubbed “Project Neon”. What the leak reveals is a considerable overhaul of the Windows 10 UI, which would appear to take a lot of gorgeous design inspiration from Google’s Material Design used across its own software ecosystems. However, it should be noted that the design appears to be primarily a UI overhaul and little else – we’re not seeing many hints of major functionality features, at best there is some crossover with Microsoft’s Hololens AR ambitions.
What we’re seeing is a re-designed font throughout, one that looks considerably more chic, cool, and a bit industrial to keep things down with the kids. Add to that translucent and animated bars and other screen components, a design feature dubbed “Acrylic”, and you can see how Microsoft is admirably trying to get with the times with something much more fresh-faced. The Acrylic features appear to be seperated out into different UI components, suggesting Microsoft may be taking a modular approach to the design allowing app developers to adopt as much or as little of the aesthetic as they wish – again, something Google did with Material Design.
“Project NEON will heavily focus on animations, simplicity, and consistency – essentially bringing back Windows 7’s Aero Glass and mixing it up with animations like the ones from the Windows Phone 8/7 era,” writes MSPU.
Other components are called “Conscious UI” and “Connected Animations”.
“In one of the internal concept videos, Microsoft demoed this Conscious UI in the Groove Music app where the Side-Nav Acrylic changes depending on what’s behind the current app, and the picture of the artist also has a neat little effect where it moves around a bit when the user moves the window.”
A lot of this is being regarded as preparatory work for Windows 10’s role in Microsoft’s much anticipated Hololens AR ecosystem – it will make a lot more sense having a less intrusive, translucent UI imposed over your living room surfaces than a solid block of colour invading your real world space, for example.
The caveat on all this wonderment, is that it’s likely quite a ways off yet. The reports indicate this won’t arrive until after Microsoft releases the Windows 10 build dubbed as Redstone 3, and bear in mind the Redstone 2 update hasn’t landed yet and isn’t expected to until March 2017.
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