With all the new stuff that came with the Mango update. nothing has been more visually obvious than the new flipping Live tiles. Don’t remember which app started the wave on my phone, but they just seem to keep on coming. No matter where I scroll to now, my screen appears to be alive, with tiles flipping all over the place. Actually, of the 38 tiles I currently have pinned to my Start screen, 29 of them update in some way, including 13 tiles that flip. That only leaves 9 dumb tiles; three provided by Microsoft (IE, Office & Settings), two Folder tiles that I could make flip if I added additional apps, and three third party apps. Does it use extra battery having all these Live/flipping tiles? Don’t know and frankly I don’t care. I do know that changing my screen brightness from “medium” to “automatic” improved battery performance by 5-10%. So if that’s what all these tiles may possibly be using, that’s a good tradeoff for me.
Thought it would be cool to give you an idea of what these flippers look like and what additional info, if any, they provide. So here we go, in no particular order.
Smart Shopping – Been using this app forever and updates rollout regularly. The front tile shows nothing for me, but it does update if you have shared shopping lists. The back tile showshow many remaining items you have on your current list. Might be good to see a view of open lists and remaining items per, up to say 4 lists. Maybe not though.
I’m a WP7 – A growing social app (147,000 users now), with a bunch of interesting stats. The front tile will show if you have any new messages. Back tile is simply providing a marketing message, for now.
Sports Scores – This app just got updated this past week and now displays up to four different games at the same time, two on each side of the tile. Scores are updated every ten minutes. Very cool.
Network Dashboard – Don’t want to clutter my already too long Start screen with individual toggle tiles, so turning WiFi or Data on/off is a two step process for me, but still better than going through Settings. Front tile shows WiFi on/off status, while the back tile displays Data on/off (not signal strength) status.
Battery Meter – This is a Homebrew app that displays your current battery percentage. It can only update every 30 minutes, which is a limitation of Live tiles, without having to pull info in from a server (like Sports Scores for example) but tapping the icon displays the exact battery percentage and updates the tile. Basically the same info front and back, with and without an icon. A request has been made of the dev to show the info available in Battery Saver, like estimated time remaining. Hopefully he can pull it off.
Weather Channel – Ah, this might have been that first filppy tile for me. Not sure. Front displays the current weather conditions, while the back will give you a radar view of your current location. I would prefer that the radar view was zoomed out to show a much larger area than displayed, like 100-150 miles. As it is now, I can look outside or simply listen (it rains really, really hard down here in Florida) to see and hear what the tile displays.
CleverToDo – My favorite task app got better yesterday with a new flip tile. The front displays your next three tasks along with counters for tasks due today, and past due tasks. The back tile displays counters for; Inbox, Today, Next and Someday, so you always know what’s coming up without opening the app. Some other little improvements on the inside too. For anyone serious about task management, this is a must have.
Smart Tile – Probably shouldn’t be doing this, but what the heck. This is a Beta version of Smart Tile 2.0 that I am currently testing. The front tile looks just like it always has, while that back displays a static image for now. Lots of cool new stuff inside and I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but just think more than one, as in Smart Tiles. Enough said. This is still a work in progress so the final release may have a completely different back tile. Who knows.
USA Today – Another flip tile early adopter. The front tile displays images of current articles, while the back displays the Accu-Weather forecast. Works for me.
Folders – Another Homebrew app, and probably my favorite tile right now. You build folders on your desktop, using links to apps, with the provided utility and then upload the folders to your phone and pin to your Start screen. App icons are displayed in either a 2 x 2 (4 icons) or a 3 x 3 (9 icons) grid. So once you get past 9 icons in a folder, the tile will flip. This is my Favorites tile, and while I don’t really have 18 favorite apps (really more like 11), all with static tiles, I filled it up just to see what the tile would look like. My other two folders for; Map apps (6 icons) and Dropbox/Storage apps (4 icons) don’t have enough apps in them to flip. A request has been made to the developer to maybe allow flipping a 2 x 2 grid once you pass 4 apps, but not sure if that’s possible.
Fox News – More images of current stories on the front of this news app. But the back tile displays a current headline which is a nice twist.
Mehdoh – My current favorite Twitter app. The front tile will display a counter for mentions and DM’s, while the back displays your current Twitter avatar. Lots of recent updates with this app, so it will only get better.
That’s my list, minus my Me tile. So am I missing any flippy tiles worth having. Not looking to add more to my Start screen but I really do like these things. Btw, these “excellent” screen captures are all courtesy of Jerry Jiang and his Screen Capturer Homebrew app. Just sent him a “Grande” cup of coffee for his efforts.