So after making the post on CoverFlow yesterday I remembered that Windows Media Player 11 comes with a pretty nice implementation of album art visualisation for some of the default music selection/navigation views.
I don’t have a Vista installation handy at home right now for screen captures so we will have to make do with Paul Thurrott’s atrocious taste in music! (Sorry Paul, but you have to get called out for having Def Leppard, Phil Collins and Enrique Iglesias all showing on one screenshot).
Anyway, if you take a quick look at the screenshots you can see that WMP11 shows stacks of album art when browsing by genre, year and artist and a very nice album view showing album art and track listings side by side. Now, all of this is not as flashy as CoverFlow with its 3D loveliness but it is solving this problem in a slightly more real world way and it makes a very nice addition to Windows Media Player (which I do still prefer to iTunes, even iTunes on OS X).
My question for Microsoft though is this. Where is the 3D CoverFlow style album art browser integrated into WMP? You have built a fantastic new presentation layer which could implement something like that with no problems at all, why are you not exploiting it more in the apps you are intending to ship with Windows Vista?
Note: Apparently, Windows XP Media Center Edition also uses album art for navigation and has done since it’s first version but I don’t have an installation of that handy to test it either.