While Microsoft's "Metro" design is unified across Windows, Windows Phone, and Xbox, there was a time when the company was creating concepts for its big mobile refresh. In a new modern design story, Microsoft has revealed some of the inspiration involved in Metro and some early concepts to show how it evolved Windows Mobile to the flat tiled interface in Windows Phone 7.

Some of the early designs were clearly inspired by Windows Media Center, an application for media and TV in Windows, and Microsoft's Zune media player. A brief video shows the progression to a more modern look with the first concepts behind Microsoft's Live Tiles that are now being used to power Windows 8 and the Xbox One. Of course, nobody at Microsoft is sure what to call Metro these days, thanks to a legal matter, but the concepts offer a previously unseen look at how the flat design influences some of Microsoft's biggest products.