I’ve been somewhat cynical of Live Tiles, the quadrilateral user interface centerpiece of Microsoft’s current user interface thrust that includes elements of notification and app launching. Live Tiles’ idea of bubbling up a window into an application’s functionality can also be provided by Android widgets, reducing Windows Phone’s differetiation. Furthermore, the tiles’ scalability isn’t any better than the grid of icons or at least shortcuts (of which they’re a superset) that they seek to displace. This may be one of the drivers behind the smaller tiles that were introduced with Windows Phone 8. Microsoft’s focus on Live Tiles as the primary launcher has relegated the app list to being just that although its alphabet-driven navigation is a great navigational aid.
Android widgets can still do a lot of things Live Tiles can’t do, but Google’s operating system treats them as an extension of the program. Indeed, that’s how they’re acquired. In contrast, Windows Phone and Windows 8/RT support deep pinning, which is the ability to take files or even things like contacts and put them alongside apps on that topmost user interface. This came in handy recently when I needed to reference a rehearsal song that needed to be played bak over and over o different occasions. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to learn that there is some media player for Android that supports making a playlist widget and I could have made a playlist with just that song, etc., but with Windows Phone it was easy — long-tap on the song, in the default media player, choose Pin to Start, and done.