Microsoft’s Arrow launcher for Android is super simple and elegant

microsoft arrow launcher android splash screen 02
Digital Trends / Robert Nazarian
Microsoft continues its love for Android with a new launcher called Arrow. Arrow is for those of you that don’t like to fiddle with a lot of customization and would rather keep things simple.

The launcher includes three home pages that are each assigned to a specific category. The first page is the People page, and it shows you the most-used contacts along with phone numbers and email accounts. Tapping on the dialer icon at the top right will open the Dialer app, and the three dot menu will display all of your contacts.

Arrow isn’t the most robust Android launcher available, but Microsoft takes a clean and simple approach.

The second page, which is the main home page, is reserved for Apps. It’s also broken down into two sections: Recent and Frequent. Recent is for the apps you installed most “recently,” and Frequent is for the apps you use the most.

The third, and final page is for Notes & Reminders, which will show your scheduled tasks and reminders. You have to manually enter them, though, because Arrow is not tied to Google Now or any other third-party app.

The bottom of each page does offer the familiar App Drawer icon along with four spots for apps or folders that you can customize (quick launch tray). Tapping the App Drawer shows all of your installed apps in alphabetical order, and swiping up just above the App Drawer offers a mini window. This mini window displays the quick launch tray, as well as four other spots for apps or folders that you can customize for quick access. It also displays the four most recent contacts, and it provides access to the app’s settings and wallpapers.

Tapping on Settings doesn’t reveal much other than the software version number and the option to set Arrow as the default launcher, but it does give you access to the main Settings of the phone.

The Wallpapers feature offers a selection of a few custom wallpapers, or you can set one of your own. You can even set it to download a new wallpaper from Bing daily.

Arrow isn’t the most robust Android launcher available, but Microsoft takes a clean and simple approach. If you would like to give this one a try, you will need to request an invite through the Google+ Community, since it’s in closed beta. If accepted, you will be able to download the app directly from Google Play.

You can also download the apk file here and try it now. Unfortunately you won’t receive updates since it’s not tied to Google Play, but it will give you an idea if Arrow is something you’re interested in, as you await official access. In order to install it, you need to go into the phone’s Settings and check unknown sources, which is usually in the security section of the main Settings for most Android phones.

Mobile

If you're light on memory, these are the best lite apps for Android and iOS

Looking to save data, storage, and reduce performance issues? Lite apps and Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are the best options. Here's our roundup of lite apps and PWAs for all the most popular apps on the market.
Mobile

Verizon's newest deals can net you $500 off the LG V40 ThinQ

Looking for a new LG flagship? The LG V40 ThinQ is here, and it's bringing a familiar style, two more camera lenses, and upgraded specs. Here's absolutely everything you need to know about the LG V40 ThinQ.
Mobile

Key settings you need to change on your brand-new LG V40 ThinQ

Now that you've got your brand-new LG V40 ThinQ, it's time to get to work. Whether its hiding the notch or setting a schedule for the blue light filter, here are some key settings you'll want to change on your LG V40 ThinQ.
Mobile

Key settings you need to change on your brand-new Google Pixel 3 or 3 XL phone

Google's Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL smartphones are now available. If you've set the phone up, we've rounded up a handful of key settings we think you should tweak or turn on to get the most out of your new device.
Mobile

Safeguard your new Apple smartphone with one of our favorite iPhone XS cases

If the iPhone XS is your next device, then you’ll want to shop for some proper protection now. That glass sandwich design is all too easy to scratch or crack, so make sure you snag one of the best iPhone XS cases to keep it looking good.
Mobile

From Android 1.0 to Android 9.0, here’s how Google’s OS evolved over a decade

It's hard to believe, but Android has been around for almost a decade now. From Android 1.0 to Android 9.0 Pie, here's the history of Android and the changes that came with each new software iteration.
Mobile

The Pixel’s Night Sight mode is currently available (but hidden)

The Google Pixel range has always been the home of some of the mobile world's best phone cameras. That performance could be about to get even better with the introduction of the low-light Night Sight mode.
Mobile

Google is working on a fix for the Pixel 3's image-saving bug

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are arguably the best Android phones out there right now -- but they aren't perfect. Users have reported a number of issues and problems related to the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. Here's how to fix them.
Mobile

Apple's iOS 12.1 update will include a fix for iPhone XS, XR selfies

After months of betas, the final version of iOS 12 is here to download. The latest OS comes along with tons of new capabilities, from grouped notifications to Siri Shortcuts. Here are all the features you'll find in iOS 12.
Mobile

Apple could show off a new iPad Mini and AirPower charger at October event

Apple's sprung a surprise event on us, even though this year has seen loads of new Apple releases. So what's left to come? Quite a lot as it turns out. Here's what to expect from Apple's October 30 event.
Mobile

Unleash your inner artist with the best drawing apps for the iPad Pro

The best drawing apps for the iPad Pro turn Apple's robust tablet into a canvas worthy of a true artist. Here are 20 of our current favorites, whether you're looking to keep things simple or take your art to the next level.
Music

Spotify vs. Pandora: Which music streaming service is better for you?

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Social Media

Meet Messenger 4: Facebook’s makeover both simplifies and customizes your chats

Messenger will soon be getting a new look. Facebook has unveiled Messenger 4, an update with the same tools but a simplified look. The chat app is also getting a new customization feature.
Photography

Intel’s augmented reality brings Red Bull Rampage into your living room

The extreme mountain biking action of Red Bull Rampage is coming to your living room thanks to the power of augmented reality and 360-degree video that lets fans load a scale replica of the course right in their phones.