Microsoft invests even more time to Android, releases its own launcher

microsoft store grand opening
Keith Nelson Jr./Digital Trends
Microsoft officially released the Arrow Launcher from beta today, available on the Google Play store for free. It is a significant investment in the Android ecosystem, and points to a potential Windows-Android crossover in the future.

Arrow Launcher has been in beta for four months. Microsoft has been polishing the launcher, making sure all of the sections work as intended. The Launcher comes with four sections: contacts, frequent apps, quick notes, and recent. The user can access the sections through a swipe to the left or right.

arrow-launcher

Instead of everything remaining static, Arrow Launcher constantly updates the sections. Apps are reshuffled depending on when you used them last and contacts are stacked by importance. The recent section shows apps opened recently, photos taken, apps downloaded, and other notifications. Quick notes lets you take notes and set reminders, removing the need for a dedicated app.

It is not the type of launcher for users that enjoy sorting their apps into folders or having a contact list sorted alphabetically.

Arrow Launcher is not the first app to arrive on the Google Play store from Microsoft, in fact the company has launched over 70 apps on Google’s store. Office, OneDrive, Outlook, SmartGlass, and Groove are all available, alongside the Next Lock Screen, also built exclusively for Android.

Compare that to Google’s other mobile rival Apple, the difference is night and day. Apple has launched one app on Android, and that was built by another studio to help new customers switch from Android to iOS. Apple Music — an app that has been available on iOS for over a month — might launch on Android by the end of the year, though Apple doesn’t seem to be in any rush.

Microsoft is already working with Samsung to bring Office to Android, but building its own smartphone for Android might not be far off. Nokia launched a range of low-end Android phones shortly after the Microsoft acquisition, but the range failed to meet expectations.

Mobile

Trust us, you need to pay attention to Samsung’s new mobile modem

Samsung has announced the Exynos Modem 5100 chip, which usually would not be very exciting, but this one is its first 5G modem that will connect future mobile devices to the super-fast network.
Mobile

Here’s how to safely download ‘Fortnite: Battle Royale’ on an Android device

'Fortnite: Battle Royale' is one of the biggest games in the world right now, and it's finally on Android, even if getting set up is a bit long-winded. Here's how to play 'Fortnite: Battle Royale' on an Android device.
Mobile

Apple says Group FaceTime will not be part of initial launch of iOS 12

At this year's Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple unveiled its latest operating system, iOS 12. From app updates to group FaceTime, ARKit 2.0, and more, here are all the new features in iOS 12.
Mobile

How to transfer your contacts between iPhone and Android devices

There's nothing worse than getting a new phone and realizing you don't have any of your old contacts listed. Luckily, it's an easy problem to solve. Here's how to transfer your contact list to your new device.
Mobile

The 100 best Android apps turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

Choosing which apps to download is tricky, especially given how enormous and cluttered the Google Play Store has become. We rounded up 100 of the best Android apps and divided them neatly, each suited for a different occasion.
Mobile

No home button, no problem: Here's how to take a screenshot on an iPhone X

Since the iPhone X has ditched Touch ID in exchange for Face ID, the process of taking screenshots is a little different. Here, we show you how to take a screenshot on an iPhone X.
Mobile

No, blue light from your cell phone won’t make you blind

A new study from the University of Toledo reveals the process by which blue light impacts the photoreceptors in our eyes and leads to macular degeneration, an incurable eye disease that causes blindness later in life. The fact that blue…
Computing

Apple AR glasses will launch in 2020, says respected industry analyst

Apple AR glasses may be closer to reality than we thought. Here is everything we know so far about the augmented reality system, including the rumored specifications of Apple's Project Mirrorshades.
Mobile

T-Mobile attempts to reinvent customer service with its new ‘Team of Experts’

In an attempt to reinvent how it approaches customer care, T-Mobile announced its Team of Experts. Whenever a customer contacts T-Mobile, they're given direct access to the same team members each time without being put on hold or…
Wearables

Apple considers making its own health-monitoring processors

Apple could be looking at making its own dedicated health tracking processors. These chips are dedicated to health-monitoring features on wearables, and could mean more health tracking features on the next Apple Watch.
Social Media

How to use Adobe Spark Post to spice up your social media images

Images are proven to get more likes than plain text -- but only if those images are good. Adobe Spark post is an AI-powered design program for non-designers. Here's how to use it to take your social media feeds to the next level.
Mobile

Oppo F9 smartphone is a budget beauty with a teeny-tiny notch

Oppo has just unveiled the budget Oppo F9 with decidedly budget specs wrapped in an impressively attractive body with a gradient finish and a teeny tiny-notch on the nearly all-screen front. But it doesn't seem to be coming to the U.S. or…
Home Theater

Everything you need to know about Google’s Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra

Google's Chromecast plugs into your TV's HDMI port, allowing you to stream content from your tablet, laptop, or smartphone directly to your TV. Here's what you need to know about all iterations, including the 4K-ready Chromecast Ultra.
Mobile

Google One subscriptions offer more cloud storage for low prices, other perks

Can't get enough storage on Google Drive, Photos, or Gmail? Google One is the new way to boost your cloud storage. But it's not just about more space -- Google One comes with a loads of benefits.