Microsoft opens the doors to its secret Garage, and shows off cool mobile apps

Microsoft has opened up the Garage doors, and although we may have expected to find an award-winning Ferrari 375 MM, instead there are various cool mobile apps inside. The Garage was once an internal development lab, where software projects were hidden away from the public, and worked on in private. That changed this week, when Microsoft decided it wanted to share its hard work. In keeping with many of Microsoft’s recent mobile software projects, there are apps which work with Windows Phone, Android, and iOS.

There are 15 apps in total, many of which are locally relevant or have a very specific target, but there are still some gems to be discovered. Here are our picks from Microsoft’s Garage.

Next Lock Screen

An alternative lock screen for Android 4.0 and up, Next Lock Screen aims to save you time by integrating short cuts and quick access keys into a dynamic lock page. Quick access apps are displayed based on your usage, the calendar shows upcoming appointments, and there’s the chance to change the background according to your location. The page also provides notifications for SMS and missed calls.

Reach Me

Reach Me is for Windows Phone 8.1 devices only. Through the app, you can share your location with friends, and then provide accurate navigation instructions to where you are. It’s live, so even if you’re moving around, it’ll keep tracking your location. A time limit can be added to the tracking feature, so you won’t forget it’s activated.

Torque

Microsoft brings Bing to Android Wear with Torque. It takes Android Wear’s voice controls and adds them to a Bing search engine, which can be activated simply by twisting your wrist. The same motion resets the search, but not the program, making searches more conversational. The app is compatible with LG and Samsung Android Wear watches, but apparently has reliability problems on the Moto 360.

Tetra Lockscreen

Tetra Lockscreen is another lock screen app, but this time for Windows Phone 8.1. It displays your daily calendar entries, and assesses how busy you’re going to be, plus it puts appointment locations on a live map. Clearly designed for people who are constantly on the move, it also makes use of Nokia’s SensorCore to count your steps, and estimate the calories you’ve burned.

Jouneys and Notes

This is a social travel app, designed primarily for public transport, and available on Android. The idea is to log each trip you take, share tips and secrets on the journey, and connect with fellow travelers. Beyond that, Journeys and Notes logs the trips, letting you see how far you travel, and even how environmentally friendly you’ve been.

All the apps found in Microsoft’s Garage are free to download, and you can see the entire list here.

Mobile

Apple’s AirPower wireless charging mat may be coming soon

At its September event in 2017, Apple unveiled the AirPower, a new wireless charging mat that will allow you to charge multiple devices at one time. It has not yet been released. Here's everything we know about the device so far.
Wearables

Tips and tricks to get you started with your new Fitbit Inspire HR

The Inspire HR may be an entry-level fitness tracker in Fitbit's lineup, but the device still has plenty of features to explore. These are our favorite tips and tricks to help you use the Inspire HR to its fullest potential.
Computing

Sending SMS messages from your PC is easier than you might think

Texting is a fact of life, but what to do when you're in the middle of something on your laptop or just don't have your phone handy? Here's how to send a text message from a computer, whether you prefer to use an email client or Windows 10.
Deals

It’s time to check out the best Apple Watch deals for March 2019

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.
Mobile

The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G might be a few short weeks away from launch

Samsung has announced a whopping four new Galaxy S10 devices, from the low-cost S10e to the triple-camera S10 and S10 Plus. But it's the Galaxy S10 5G that steals the show as it's among the first 5G-ready smartphones to hit the market.
Computing

T-Mobile goes after big cable companies, pilots wireless home internet service

In a shot at big cable companies, T-Mobile is launching a new pilot program to bring an unlimited wireless LTE home internet service to up to 50,000 homes across the United States by the end of 2019.
Mobile

Apple patent suggests Apple Watch bands could have built-in fitness indicators

Apple may be exploring ways to make Apple Watch bands a little more useful. A new patent has been filed by Apple that suggests Apple Watch bands could eventually have indicators for things like fitness goals.
Mobile

Type away on the best iPad keyboard cases, from the Mini to the Pro

Whether you're looking to replace your laptop with a tablet or merely want to increase your typing speed, a physical iPad keyboard is the perfect companion to the iPad. Check out our top picks for every available iPad model.
Mobile

Apple patents hint at improved Apple Store and unboxing experiences

It looks like Apple is working on ways to improve the Apple Store and product unboxing experiences. The company has been awarded a few patents, largely for tech that can be used in product packaging to ensure products stay charged.
Wearables

Fossil made a smartwatch in 2004, and it’s part of a new brand retrospective

Fossil has been making watches for 35 years, and to celebrate the anniversary, it has a new retrospective exhibit complete with the first smartwatch it made — the Wrist Net watch from 2004.
Deals

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for March 2019

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals.
Wearables

Fossil is working on a smartwatch with BMW, and it’s coming next year

Fossil, the watch company that makes smartwatches under its own name and partners with other major brands too, intends to launch a smartwatch with car manufacturer BMW in the future.
Social Media

A Facebook, Instagram bug exposed millions of passwords to its employees

Facebook, Facebook Lite, and Instagram passwords weren't properly encrypted and could be viewed by employees, the company said Thursday. The network estimates millions of users were affected.
Mobile

Nokia phones are being investigated for allegedly sending data to China

Nokia could be in some hot water. According to recent reports, Nokia 7 models may be secretly sending data to China without the user knowing about it. Nokia says that the issue was a software bug and that it has been fixed.