One of the apps meets the style. Arrow is the personal productivity launcher from Microsoft Garage that offers a radical Android experience. It came as something of a shock to people when Microsoft first released an Android launcher in the guise of Arrow Launcher. Now the company behind it is making it a more obvious app, bringing the launcher out of beta and relaunching it as Microsoft Launcher.
It’s something like Microsoft’s new Android invasion has started. Following on from Joe Belfiore’s announcement that Windows 10 for Mobile has been effectively killed (not exactly dead, but security updates and patches will continue, and there’ll be no new features added), there has been a renewed online interest in Redmond-based mobile software.
Only very recently admitted that Windows Phone is dead, and this is something that is borne out by Microsoft’s increasing interest in developing iOS and Android software. What’s surprising to many is that Microsoft Launcher is actually a decent piece of software. For those anyone looking forward to replacing launcher app on their Android phone, Microsoft’s offering is well worth a look, particularly if you make use of a number of Microsoft’s services.
Microsoft Launcher for Android will also display information from your calendar, news feed, and more, as well as it has a Bing integration. Born in the ‘skunkworks project’ of the Microsoft Garage two years ago, the first is the upgrading of the Arrow launcher to the pithily named Microsoft Launcher now.
Arrow has now matured from being a way to launch an app towards your personal cloud portal. Part of such is down to a feature similar to Apple’s ‘Hand-Off’ feature that links iOS and macOS.. with Microsoft Launcher you can tap documents on your smartphone and have them open on your Windows PC.
Using Microsoft Launcher on an Android or iOS you can also share documents the launcher features a timeline of events including images, appointments, messages, and important news headlines.
The second iteration was the beta release of the Edge Browser for Android (and iOS). This builds on the idea of handing off info from the mobile web browser to the desktop and back again including readings lists, favorites, and history. Arrow Launcher takes advantage of the Continue on PC feature of Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Microsoft Edge for Android can “Snap a pic on your phone and see it instantly on your Windows PC or continue editing an Office 365 document on your PC by linking your phone with your Windows PC.”
While the mobile version of Edge is not as developed as the Launcher, it’s however, not yet possible to have tabs synced between devices but is being worked on. The Arrow Launcher started with a minimal feature set and is now relatively advanced. No doubt the Edge browser will do the same over time.
The apps full functionality is only unlocked when a user is signed in with their Microsoft account, but part of Microsoft’s mobile strategy is to get as many people engaged with their own cloud-based services alongside the forced smartphone choice of a Google Account (on Android) or an iCloud account (on iOS).
The non-beta version of the app is rolling out around the world now. If you’re not willing to wait for Microsoft Launcher to appear in the Play Store, you can simply grab the app as Microsoft Launcher APK from here.
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