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.


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.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: 1-handed drone control, a pot that stirs itself

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Cloudflare’s privacy-enhancing DNS service comes to iOS and Android

Cloudflare's DNS resolver service has been ported to mobile devices, and now anyone with an Android or iOS device can download it for free to take advantage of its speed and privacy-boosting features.
Product Review

The iPad Pro is the best tablet ever. But don't sell your laptop just yet

Apple has unveiled a big redesign for the iPad Pro, slimming down the bezels, adding Face ID, and the ability to attach and charge the Apple Pencil. All of this comes at a high cost however, as the iPad Pro starts at $799.
Product Review

One look at the Mi 8 Pro, and you’ll wish every phone had a transparent back

Xiaomi has officially launched in the U.K., and its first major device launch is the Mi 8 Pro, a phone that looks quite a bit like the iPhone XS but with a very cool transparent back panel and an in-display fingerprint sensor.

Google’s storage-management app gets face-lift, is now called ‘Files by Google’

Google has revamped its files management app with a new look and name. Now known as Files by Google, the app received the company's all-white material redesign -- offering the same functionality, but with a cleaner look.

Bigger than Black Friday: Don’t miss the best Single’s Day deals

Thanks to AliExpress, Single's Day – the world's largest retail day – is no longer a foreign affair. If you're ready to do some early holiday shopping or want to score some discounts ahead of Black Friday, we've rounded up some of the…
Product Review

It's so fast it has a clip-on fan. But the Asus ROG phone isn't just for gamers

Is a gaming smartphone only something a mobile gamer should consider buying? In the case of the Asus ROG Phone, the good news is the device is so capable, and a genuinely impressive all-rounder, that everyone should take a closer look…

Our favorite ebook reader is not a Kindle. Here are all the best options

If you're a bookworm, an ebook reader can be an important part of your life, one that allows you to read your books whenever and wherever you like. But which should you get? Here are five of the best ebook readers available.

Samsung made a $2,700 flip phone with the brains of a smartphone

The Samsung W2019 is a high-end flip phone that comes with flagship specifications such as 6GB of RAM and Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845. The device features a pair of S-AMOLED displays, a dual rear camera setup, and an eye-popping price tag.

Google, Samsung, OnePlus, and Huawei face off in an Android battle royale

The good news is that there are some great options in the Android smartphone market right now. The bad news is that too much choice makes it tough to decide. We compare the Pixel 3 XL, the Galaxy Note 9, the OnePlus 6T, and the Mate 20 Pro.

Apple to boost its Amazon presence with listings for iPhones, iPads, and more

Apple is about to start offering more of its kit on Amazon. The tech giant currently only has very limited listings on the shopping site, but the deal will see the arrival of the latest iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and more.

Get your gaming on the go with this list of the 25 best Android games

The Google Play Store is loaded with both terrific and terrible gaming titles. We vetted the store to bring you some of the best Android games available, whether you're into puzzles, shooters, racing games, or something else.

Google’s Gboard now uses A.I. to recommend GIFs based on your conversation

Google is bringing a new feature to Gboard that should make it better for those that regularly use GIFs and stickers. The feature essentially uses A.I. to recommend GIFs and stickers based on your conversation.

The LG V30+ gets a huge price cut on Amazon, today only

Though Amazon early Black Friday deals began at the start of November, the discounts are only just now starting to get good. Today only, Amazon is offering a whopping 40 percent off the unlocked LG V30+.