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

Updating to Apple’s iOS 12 will make your iPhone a whole lot smarter

iOS 12, the latest version of Apple’s iOS, is officially here. We took it for a spin to check out its new noteworthy features, and if it truly changes our smartphone habits for the better.
Mobile

Google Maps is available on Apple CarPlay with iOS 12

After months of betas, the final version of iOS 12 is here to download. The new 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

Dozens of bite-sized features add up to a feast in Android 9.0 Pie

Google’s latest version of Android is here, and it’s called Android 9 Pie. We’ve been using it for the past few months on a Google Pixel to see how this flavor stacks up.
Mobile

Handy iOS 12 tips and tricks to master Apple's latest update

Apple's iOS 12 mobile operating system introduces a ton of new features, with more options to help boost productivity. But updating to it can be overwhelming, so we're here to make it easier with some iOS 12 tips and tricks.
Mobile

Not sure about updating to iOS 12? Here are five reasons why you should

If you’re on the fence about whether to install iOS 12 or not, allow us to explain why the update is worthwhile. Here are five of our favorite features from Apple’s mobile platform.
Social Media

How to turn off Snapchat’s location-based Snap Map

Thanks to an opt-in feature added last year, Snapchat may be sharing your location with friends whenever you open it. Here, we'll walk you through how to turn off said feature off and regain some peace of mind.
Mobile

Mi 8 Pro looks like an iPhone, but has a feature Apple fans can only dream of

Xiaomi has launched two new phones in the Mi 8 family: The Mi 8 Pro and the Mi 8 Lite. Unlike the past models, these two are definitely going to be sold internationally. Here's what you need to know about them both.
Mobile

Find out how Apple's new iPhones measure up to the most bezel-less designs

As the smartphone industry marches toward a bezel-less future, we compare the shrinking bezels on the latest and greatest devices. Find out which manufacturers have the smallest bezels on their smartphone as we measure them side by side.
Mobile

iOS 12's Siri Shortcuts help Apple close the digital assistant gap

Siri may be lagging behind the competition, but Apple is finally supercharging the digital assistant with Siri Shortcuts, which allows you to perform tasks quickly and easily. Here's how to use iOS 12's new Siri Shortcuts app.
Mobile

Apple iPhone XS vs. Samsung Galaxy S9: 2018’s biggest flagships clash

The iPhone XS has been revealed, and it's one of the best phones of the year. But even though it's Apple's latest and greatest, it's up against a lot of competition. Is the iPhone XS better than the Samsung Galaxy S9?
Mobile

Samsung exec confirms upcoming Galaxy S10 will sport 'very significant changes'

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Wearables

Just $100 buys you this super-tough — and very cool — G Shock fitness watch

Casio has announced a new Bluetooth-connected fitness watch in its G Shock line. The GBD-800 has an all-new digital display, fitness tracking technology, a classic G Shock look, and an attractive price.
Mobile

The best weather apps for the iPhone

Don't rely solely on your local meteorologist to stay up to date on the weather. Take matters into your own hands with one of these weather apps, each of which brings something unique to the table.
Mobile

Be an online phantom and web surf safely with Ghostery’s mobile browser

Keeping your private information to yourself has become progressively harder in the internet age. If you're worried about your personal information, check out the new version of the Ghostery browser for iOS and Android.