I want a less sterile, but still clean metro.
One thing that android and iOS have against windows phone is it's PC like desktop, where you can pretty much do what you want on the homescreen, android more so. You have folders for whatever you like, perhaps games, work apps, timers... The screen is above a picture of your choice, and really gives the phone a distinctive style when browsing around. The new Galaxy SIII has a movable video box that you can watch livestreams on while doing something else on the homescreen, so there's little reason the say android's OS can get boring. The only customization with windows phone is white or black background, and an accent color of your liking, and that's fine, it's minimalist and clean, the whole point of metro right? But I find myself just thumbing around the live tiles then putting the phone to sleep, bored, wondering how I could see more interactive touchings on the desktop. Of course it's all in the apps, but what if I don't want to do anything specific, I just want to distract myself for a few minutes. Maybe watch Aljezeera in a little box, or skim through articles, right in a live tile.
Back when mp3 players were relevant, apple had their signature style with the iPod OS, white background with a clean blue line. Sound familiar? The iPod was a minimalist anti skeuomorphic interface, it wasn't until coverflow did apple start making their homescreens look like glassy album counter tops (yes I know there was a bit of this in the iPod classic OS) but the point remains the same, iPod focused on fast navigation and clean menus. Here's a comparison with Apple's outing matched with Microsoft's rival Zune:
So by looking side by side, I notice Zune's UI has a lot of chrome, the bar fades from left to right, the background is front and center, but compared to the iPod, it's stark white, with blue accent. Apple wasn't totally anti skeuomorphic though, the status bar was faux brushed metal. With all of iPod's little touches though, it still appears much more simple than Zune's style. So why did the roles reverse at almost the same time? Why are their smartphone OS's so different from their own product not half a decade ago? Let's see what Microsoft and Apple hang their hat on for their smartphone division:
Looking at these phones 6 years ago, save for the logos, I'd predict Apple was left and Microsoft was right. That may be pushing it, but look at how drastically the overall design philosophy changed. I was happy with the zune interface because it was flashy and really intuitive, but I also appreciated the iPods ease.
Metro's clean interface is great, but bring back the style of old.
So here's what I'd like to see from Microsoft, take some inspiration from your early zune software and breath a little more style into the interface. Metro is clean, but it's also very sterile. Make the OS more fun, and more alive, I know it can happen again.