Microsoft has been granted patent for the Metro User Interface by the US Patent and Trademark Office. This patent was filed under the name ‘Visual motion for user interface feedback’.
Microsoft has been working to implement the Metro UI into Windows 8 and Xbox 360 in order to create a similar and synergised user experience between three platforms — Mobile, Tablets, Computer and Gaming Console. That is exactly what its rival Apple has been trying to achieve with the release of Mac OS X Lion and iOS 5 update.
The Metro UI in the Windows Phone 7 is aimed at a simple, fluid and easy to adept user interface. The design cues from the Metro UI will be implemented in the next major operating system update — Windows 8. Apart from that, even Xbox 360 and tablets will get some Metro UI styling so that the Xbox LIVE dashboard looks similar to the Games Hub on the Windows Phone device.
The patent application abstract states: “Aspects of a user interface that provides visual feedback in response to user input. For example, boundary effects are presented to provide visual cues to a user to indicate that a boundary in a movable user interface element (e.g., the end of a scrollable list) has been reached. As another example, parallax effects are presented in which multiple parallel or substantially parallel layers in a multi-layer user interface move at different rates, in response to user input. As another example, simulated inertia motion of UI elements is used to provide a more natural feel for touch input. Various combinations of features are described.”
Several inferences can be derived from this move by Microsoft and the most obvious one is prevention of any lawsuit debacles.
What is it in for consumers? Well, let us hope that the investment in the Metro UI patent doesn’t impact sale or shipping of any Microsoft products in future. If that happens, several opportunists will try to make the best of the situation and make quick cash via gray garage sales.
Metro UI on the Windows Phone is good but the experience will not be exactly the same across different platforms.