Samsung widget offers pseudo Start menu in Windows 8

We don’t always like it when system vendors layer their own user interface elements on top of the operating system. The supposed enhancements are often clunky, and they rarely match the overall aesthetic of the OS. In some cases, though, a little tweaking can add valuable functionality. Samsung appears to be doing just that with an S Launcher widget that returns the Start menu to Windows 8.

Mashable has a brief look at the widget, which has been spotted on some new Samsung all-in-one systems. S Launcher appears to be activated using a desktop icon rather than a tweaked taskbar. Otherwise, it looks similar to the Windows 7 Start menu, complete with a search field that reportedly calls up related applications and system settings. Samsung has also added a separate settings widget that consolidates common Control Panel options that aren’t in their usual locations in Win8.

When Microsoft’s new operating system hits shelves in October, I’m sure there will be no shortage of third-party tools to tweak the desktop interface. As long as Samsung’s widgets are easy to use and don’t interfere with OS updates, they could be valuable additions to Windows 8. Thanks to The Verge for the tip.

Comments closed
    • sweatshopking
    • 7 years ago

    you guys read ars write up on this? [url<]http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2012/08/samsung-start-menu-app-shows-why-microsoft-is-going-its-own-way-with-surface/[/url<]

      • Madman
      • 7 years ago

      The article is an awfully fanboyish view on the problem.

      It assumes that Win8 will be magic meadow with jumping unicorns and magic rainbows, that app store will dominate the PC market, and CAD, Office, Visual Studio, etc. workflows will become exclusively Metro.

      So far, I don’t see that happening. I’m pretty sure we will see some surprises by Win9.

      And I really hope so!!! Because there is no way I can imagine my everyday, heavy-multitasked productivity scenario to work on an iPad. I just cant, sorry. I can’t do any productivity work on bling gadgets. The GUI is for games/reading. Not for work.

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        no. it says “MS wants consistency, oem’s f’ing with that, so ms sells alone”. that’s pretty much the sum of it. plus, you’re pretty upset about win8, you’re almost my opposite.

      • destroy.all.monsters
      • 7 years ago

      That was one of the worst articles I’ve ever read on Ars. What I always liked about them was that they went in-depth and looked at the tech at hand – not just provide uninformed opinion.

      Frankly at this point I’d prefer not to read another story at all about Win 8 and “the unwashed masses that don’t like Metro herp derp” until they actually get their hands on it.

      With so many other versions of the start menu out it sure looks like it’s something compelling to desktop users. If Samsung is putting it on tablets then I don’t think it will go over well. See! I can guess too! Pay me Conde Nast!

    • Laykun
    • 7 years ago

    Ugly as hell, true Samsung UI design.

    I love Samsung hardware but my word they need to get a new graphical design team.

    • Deanjo
    • 7 years ago

    Just another example of Samsung copying UI elements developed by others…

    • tootercomputer
    • 7 years ago

    Geez, will people just get over the new Start in Windows 8. It’s not that big of a deal. People will figure it out. One tap and you’re onto the regular Windows screen, unless you want the Metro surface.

      • Shouefref
      • 7 years ago

      Come on, they want to force you to type in the name of programs to find them.
      Are they nuts?
      It’s really going backwards.
      Not to mention that previously we had to be enthousiastic about just having to click an inco, now we have to be enthousiastic about typing the name of the program.

      Do you know what I find so utterly boring about W8?
      W8 shows that MS doesn’t respect its users.
      It treats its users like little children.

        • Corrado
        • 7 years ago

        I can start an app FAR faster by hitting the win key and typing the first 3 or 4 letters in then hitting enter than I can by moving the mouse to start, then to all programs, then to the developer then to the program name folder then to the actual app start. And god help you if you move the mouse off the menu and it disappears and you have to start all over again.

          • Madman
          • 7 years ago

          Not in the dark, not while you only using mouse and not doing fancy 3000wpm tasks, and not on the laptop on a couch for example where you can’t touch type effectively. Also you mistype in all of these scenarios a lot. And not everyone is a typer.

          Your argument doesn’t hold water.

            • Washer
            • 7 years ago

            1. He was talking about himself.

            2. That’s why you offer both solutions… as seen done very well with the Windows 7 start menu.

            Personally I find typing to launch an application generally faster than menu hunting. I don’t have trouble typing in the dark because I never look at my keyboard, the keys stay in the same spots. You can touch type effectively on a couch, do it all the time.

            It’s not moving backwards in UI design to offer a feature to launch applications by typing. Not to mention all the implementations I know of (Win7, OSX Finder, GNOME 3, Unity, etc, etc) all provide far more functionality through that search bar than simply launching applications.

            You know why all those implementations sprung up in the first place? Because it’s an awesome GUI functionality that every platform needed to have right away to keep up.

            • Diplomacy42
            • 7 years ago

            A laptop on a couch counts double. I hate trackpads.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 7 years ago

          Or you could not be stupid and pin to the taskbar or put program shortcuts on the desktop.

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            either way, searching or pinning, the current start MENU sucks. the actual MENU isn’t that amazing. the things i do like, the shortcuts to control panel, search, folders, are all improved in 8 with the right click menu, and the search is still there.

            • internetsandman
            • 7 years ago

            That’s exactly what I was thinking. While I don’t have many applications I use on my desktop, so the utility of the search is questionable at best, I still think that placing an application right on the desktop or taskbar and mousing to that, one clean motion if you’re a decent mouse user (mousist?) is much more efficient than burying it in a few files and calling up the search bar to get it back.

            Then again, to each their own, some prefer an uncluttered desktop and taskbar, and are skilled with keyboard shortcuts, and for them I would definitely agree, that functionality is probably much better than mousing to an app

            • MadManOriginal
            • 7 years ago

            Yeah…

            Choices are good. Typing or mousing.

            My reason for writing post # 25 is to show that Corrado outlined the longest and slowest way to mouse to open programs in order to make it look that much worse – there are much better ways to mouse to programs.

          • xeridea
          • 7 years ago

          All the common apps are in the Win7 menu, and you can pin ones you want, so 99% of the time you don’t need to type. It is useful for when you need it. I can click start and the icon I want in under 1 second. Would take at least 5 seconds with the ghetto metro screen, and the entire screen flashes to candy land and back, a huge disruption.

      • danny e.
      • 7 years ago

      One “tap”? What the f is a “tap”?

      My computer is not a phone.

        • Rand
        • 7 years ago

        No, but it is a tablet. Microsoft has helpfully let us all know that there is no such thing as anything else.
        It’s all a figment of our collective imagination.

          • sweatshopking
          • 7 years ago

          QQ MOAR.

        • sschaem
        • 7 years ago

        This is called being ‘modern’
        keyboards and mouse are legacy devices , get with the time.

          • Deanjo
          • 7 years ago

          Exactly, so why have a tap ui when everything will be voice controlled?

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            YEAH, I LOVE TELLME!

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 7 years ago

            lol thanks for reminding me of one of ATT’s most heinous “services” 411 Connect. Get charged constantly for wrong numbers, the horrible lithium inflected soulless female voice, the difficulty in getting refunds or even getting a real human being.

            “I’m sorry I don’t understand. Thank you. Goodbye.”

            Yup, those were the days.

            Mega off topic as it is.

      • sschaem
      • 7 years ago

      But it is a big deal for desktop users. You know those legacy devices with the big screens and those little funny things that look like mouses.

      • rrr
      • 7 years ago

      Geez, will those paid MS shills just stop glorifying Windows 8 and telling others how they should use their computers?

    • Sargent Duck
    • 7 years ago

    Take note Microsoft.

    • Madman
    • 7 years ago

    Yay for 50 different GUIs in Windows 8, now we will have a ton of nonstandard GUIs, just like Linux GUI mess 🙂

      • bthylafh
      • 7 years ago

      Reminds me of the bad old days of Windows 3.1 and Packard Bell Navigator.

        • burntham77
        • 7 years ago

        My first Windows machine was a hand-me-down Packard Bell from my parents. Navigator was a rotten little thing.

      • sschaem
      • 7 years ago

      Thats what MS want, thats what MS will get.

    • codedivine
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<] don't interfere with OS updates [/quote<] With Windows PCs, I don't see OS updates being affected by widgets since OS updates come directly from MS, not from hardware vendor (Samsung in this case) and don't need your ISPs approval. This is how it *should* be on phones too.

      • tay
      • 7 years ago

      It is that way for iphones.

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        what?

        • derFunkenstein
        • 7 years ago

        That is so not true. Every carrier – EVERY carrier – holds back OS updates. The only way you get timely updates on a phone is if you buy a carrier-unlocked phone.

        Even with Apple, there is MONTHS of lead time from when they announce an OS and they roll it out. They may call it beta and they may tweak it ever so slightly, but it’s the carriers.

    • Jakubgt
    • 7 years ago

    I’m really curious if Microsoft will kill off any third party software that enables the start menu again.

      • DeadOfKnight
      • 7 years ago

      [url<]http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/[/url<] Doesn't look dead to me.

        • Ringofett
        • 7 years ago

        For free? Wow, very good on Stardock, I figured they’d want people to pay for WindowsBlinds.

          • mutarasector
          • 7 years ago

          I’ve been using Stardock’s free version of ObjectDock for *years* along with Punk Software’s RocketDock. ObjectDock on the bottom just above my taskbar, and RocketDock at the top of my desktop screen. Both set to hide in the backround behind any open windows. That way, whenever I need to get to any of my programs/apps, folders, control panel, they come to >me< simply by placing my mouse at either the top or bottom edge of my screen rather than me having to drill though the start menu with a mouse pointer. After I select what I want from either toolbar dock, they automatically get out of the way and go hiding in the backround again. The beauty of this is that this works well from any full screen application that doesn’t require me to shrink a running app to the taskbar. I fail to see why Microsoft simply didn’t license this for Win 8. It would have been so simple to integrate this into a touchUI as well as a standard desktop and have a consistent user interface across both UI’s.

            • entropy13
            • 7 years ago

            I don’t use ObjectDock, but I use RocketDock (and it’s placed at the top). I instead pinned some programs in the taskbar (like Firefox, the “Explorer” which is already pinned by default, Winamp, uTorrent and MSI Afterburner).

            • mutarasector
            • 7 years ago

            Frankly, for some time, I’ve felt that ObjectDock pretty much replaces the functionality of the entire taskbar, except for one thing: notification tray icons. I only use the free version, but I understand the pay version has support for them. I suppose I could live with killing off the taskbar entirely and hiding it.

            As for pinning icons to the taskbar, I used to do that, but I found that between the screen real estate it uses up and the fact that I loathe Windows combining/grouping of taskbar buttons, I decided to keep my taskbar free of icons entirely, and simply keep them on a dock instead.

            ObjectDock and RocketDock both have a means to show open running apps, but I rather like RocketDock’s better as it show an actual thumbnail of an open app window as opposed to ObjectDock simply showing an open apps program icon.

            Either way, between the alpha blending and the zooming up of an icon, it seems to be perfect for inclusion/integration into a touch UI as opposed to vendors offering their reskinning as they currently do with Android. I would think it would be smart for Microsoft to not remove the Start menu, but instead, replace the >taskbar< with a repositionable dock instead.

      • Shouefref
      • 7 years ago

      They’ll try.

      • Scrotos
      • 7 years ago

      [url<]http://classicshell.sourceforge.net/[/url<] ?

      • destroy.all.monsters
      • 7 years ago

      They stated they were going to do just that. From what I’ve read (I’m not using it at the moment) the start menu hacks still work. Stardock just updated Start 8 with new features. You could check their forums to see if anyone’s having trouble with it.

      Maybe you can ask ssk or one of the other folks running Win 8 as their main machine to do a quick install/uninstall to see if it works. I’ll likely be giving it a pass until at least SP 1 (which should also allow drivers to actually be semi-mature).

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        i’m still running the release preview. i was thinking about updating to enterprise 90 day trial till oct 26th, but then my wife said she was worried i’d f up the pictures on the hard drive, etc. etc. so she doesn’t want me to.

          • destroy.all.monsters
          • 7 years ago

          OT: Yeah I totally get that. Too many/much to back up? I can’t imagine you’re using a single drive.

    • dpaus
    • 7 years ago

    Didn’t Apple already patent the idea of a Start menu for Windows?

      • LocalCitizen
      • 7 years ago

      who will sue Samsung this time? Apple or Microsoft?

      • sschaem
      • 7 years ago

      did you actually check a mac desktop screen shot from 1984 ?
      Yep, there is a ‘start’ menu right on the desktop task bar…

      At that time Mr Bill was busy copying Apple to release its first windows 1.0 a year later.

        • Deanjo
        • 7 years ago

        Don’t forget Mr Bill was hard at work copying Tandy’s Deskmate as well for MS Office. ;D

          • mutarasector
          • 7 years ago

          Not to mention DESQView…

            • CityEater
            • 7 years ago

            Weren’t they both copying Xerox?

            • entropy13
            • 7 years ago

            But that’s what Xerox does all along, [b<]copy[/b<]!

            • Scrotos
            • 7 years ago

            PC/GEOS!

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 7 years ago

            That was merely a version of DR’s GEM interface.

            • Spunjji
            • 7 years ago

            Yes, but don’t let that get in the way of Apple fans spewing the same old bollocks year-on-year. 😉

        • rrr
        • 7 years ago

        And Apple copies everyone else, including MS.

      • Diplomacy42
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah, I think so. Back in 2006. If you look at it in context, you really will see that apple innovated the start menu and Microsoft is slavishly ripping them off.

      Slavishly.

    • derTorbs
    • 7 years ago

    Well that didn’t take long. Truthfully, I have been using Windows 8 for the last couple weeks on my work machine and I have very little, if any trouble with the new UI.

    Only issue I had was it took a lot longer for me to find all the “apps” I needed that were buried in the Administrative Tools.

      • drfish
      • 7 years ago

      I’m not planning to install it at work anytime soon but I’m running RTM on my main laptop and like it enough to install it on my main desktop later tonight. I’ve also used a Windows Phone for almost two years and plan on getting a Surface though so YMMV. 😉

      Honestly I practically never see anything but my desktop so no start menu is turning out to be not such a big deal.

      • yuriylsh
      • 7 years ago

      Have you tried Win+X (or right clicking on the “start” tooltip when you hover over the bottom left corner)?

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        best thing about win 8 imo. i LOVE LOVE LOVE that menu.

          • drfish
          • 7 years ago

          OMG, you’re right, that’s awesome!

            • wibeasley
            • 7 years ago

            That’s a nice. I’d overlooked that in the shortcut lists.

          • Wirko
          • 7 years ago

          Nice indeed. Plus, there’s a tool that’s able to edit this menu. Plus, it has been backported to Win 7 (well, kind of), 6 … and 5.1.

          BUT. There have never been so many hidden options in the UI before Windows 8. Where will this trend eventually take us to?

        • derFunkenstein
        • 7 years ago

        suh-WEET.

        • atryus28
        • 7 years ago

        You sir are now my hero. I just started to have to use Win8 for testing and this has made Win8 a lot more bearable. That is a sweet feature I really want in Win7 now.

          • sweatshopking
          • 7 years ago

          i miss it a ton in win 7

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