Just the other day I came across Ryan Dawson's entry on his blog, he talks about the Start Menu and how it could be improved in Longhorn.
When I got my Tablet PC it really hit me, running at 1400x1050 resolution really made it hit home - the Start Menu needs to be more prominent. Coming across his entry got me thinking more. I was a huge fan of the Windows XP Start Menu, sure a lot of people hated it, but I loved the quick access it can give to programs and links to My Music etc. It was great. Yes OK Longhorn will be resolution independent if you want, so a tiny Start Menu won't be a problem, but I think we need something more. Here's the actual rough idea that Ryan sketched out:
This is a great idea, rather then having a menu, you have a panel. Big enough so you can fit lots of important stuff in there that you'd like to see on a single key-press. You've got your typical links to My Music etc. But what about RSS feeds? How cool would that be being able to check your favourite feeds with a single key press and without having to launch your browser or your aggregator? Awesome.
Also a search box built right into it (and may be with 1st focus), wanna launch Notepad but don't fancy navigating through the program menus? Type 'Notepad' hit enter. Wanna set up a keystroke (remember those?) hit Start and then N and boom, there's Notepad. Sure you can do a lot of that with Windows Desktop Search. But it's not the same as having it all integrated into the OS and on Start "Menu".
There's so much you could do with this.