One of the features that users value the most about the Windows platform are Live Tiles, because of the opportunity for users to be aware of their surroundings without having to open each app. Things like the weather and traffic alerts and status, our family and friends updates, the news we care about, that product we want to buy, a piece of music/video, an IM conversation/group or sports event status are examples of things we as Windows users are used to have right there in our start screens.
Now, from the brands side, and in particular by combining this with the “deep linking” ability to link a part of the app to the start screen, you can get much more access to the app by adding Live Tiles, but above all, this is an opportunity to generate a personalized promotion channel that’s even available in the lock screen.
From the developers side, some people relate the Live Tiles necessarily with the need to send push notifications and this is for sure one of the scenarios that works perfectly for targeted “breaking news” alerts; but before that there’s another option that might be simpler in many cases: having the device to poll every few minutes the information needed from a centralized service in a “pull” mode. This way, without sending push notifications you can also make the tiles look alive and personalized, aiming at the user to chose your app at the center of his experience.
Some useful links: