Everytime I see mockups or press shots of upcoming Windows Phone 8 devices I cringe at the sight of first party apps. The beautiful and live tiles fill the screen and the first party apps like Games, SkyDrive, Skype and the upcoming Xbox Music & Video tiles just stick out like a sore thumb. For the life of me I don’t understand how third party developers are encouraged to utilize the theme dependent option when prepping their apps yet Microsoft ignores this entirely.

imageHTC 8s

That God awful green on the Xbox tiles are the worst offenders of all. It stands in stark contrast to pretty much every tile that will ever be pinned to the start screen. Keep this up and I’m going to most certainly be forced to run my phone in high-contrast mode. Check out the difference the image on the right (high contrast mode) compared to the left without theme dependence applied. It’s a world of difference. It is these little things that take a product from very good to great. By the way all first party apps should have live tiles too. These apps should set the standard for what is possible with the tile system.

That concludes my mini-rant on the need to have first party Windows Phone apps be theme dependent. Just please, Microsoft see the benefit in making this happen sooner than later.

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  1. I disagree, I don’t like solid color themes on windows phone. I like apps that are either live or have some art on the tile making them different than the core OS tiles. Never liked the sea of just one color. Was very cold to me.

    • Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that all tiles should be the same color. I’m saying its weird for first party apps to have such odd color tiles and how jarring it is compared to other app tiles.

      For instance I like to set my start screen up in a checkerboard style where live tiles (w/ images) alternate with static tiles (SkyDrive, Skype). I love my Pictures Hub and Music & Videos Hub being animated and seeing the CNN app flip over to reveal some important news.

  2. I think the different colors add to it. It makes it look less static. However, it can be hard to find a color that matches those.

  3. Oh please no. The more color on the screen the better. I have begged some developers to offer an option for the Tile color, but most have caved to majority rule and gone with the easy solution, “Accent default”. Actually, I believe Microsoft encourages developers to use a color other than the accent, but developers have not paid attention. Since Mango, it is not hard to offer color options for the Start tile (no need for an offline server to change the color) but most apps still do not have this option.

    I have 44 tiles on my Start screen and when I scroll quickly, I am not looking at the name of the tile, or a white icon. I am looking for a bold color. That tells me I am close to where I want to be. The bold colors make that Start screen pop. I used Windows Mobile and HTC Sense for 3 years. No need to ever revisit that monochromatic look ever again.

    The brighter the better for me. But if I am in the minority here, how about an option to turn accent color sync on or off. Wouldn’t that make everyone happy.

  4. Im going to be that with wider API freedoms and a more robust OS in general that there will initially or eventually be an option for individual tile colors for almost every tile. I can’t imagine this not being an option alongside the same menu that allows you to change a live tiles size.

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