With Joe Belfiore making announcements on Twitter about the discontinuation of Windows Phone platform, Microsoft has already advanced towards other mobile operating systems in the market. Microsoft has been pushing apps to the Google Play Store and iOS App Store. The recent announcements include Microsoft Launcher and Microsoft Edge for Android. While Edge is yet to come on Play Store, Microsoft Launcher is already available on Play Store.
Microsoft Launcher for Android
To download Microsoft Launcher on your device, you need to become the beta tester first. Once you’ve accepted all the terms and conditions and signed up as a beta tester, you can download the application from the Play Store.
The launcher aims to provide a clean and intuitive user experience. It offers clean design and icons topped by beautiful Bing wallpapers. If you’ve ever been a fan of Bing Daily Wallpapers, then you are going to love this launcher. The wallpaper automatically gets changed after an interval, but you can also change wallpapers manually.
Like most of the other launchers, Microsoft Launcher is also based upon the two-screen design. You get your normal home screen where you can place your favorite apps and widgets, and then you have the app drawer where all the other apps are available.
Microsoft Launcher has almost all the features that other launchers offer. Other than that, swiping right on your main home screen takes you to your personal feed. Somewhat similar to Google’s Launcher, this feed brings some important features to your home screen. You can directly view your calendar events, read news based upon your interest, call most frequently contacted people and even open frequent applications. Moreover, you can maintain a to-do list and even create quick notes in your feed. Apart from that, you can view your recent activity, and if you want any custom functionality, you can add widgets to the feed.
Now talking about some more features offered by Microsoft Launcher, the recent update added gesture support and now you can enable various gestures as per your convenience. Swiping up on the dock opens a small quick settings bar that lets you quickly enable/disable Wi-Fi, Data, Bluetooth, Torch and Airplane Mode. You can even add up to five shortcuts below the dock. The launcher has a lot of customizations to offer. You can choose between three themes and five accent colors offered. Moreover, you can even use external icon pack which is not possible with Google’s default launcher. You can enable a few more features such as Hidden Apps, Notification Badges, Page Headers and High-Performance mode.
Continue on PC
Since the launcher is aimed to provide connectivity with Windows, you can see some hints in the launcher itself. For example, you can login into the launcher using your Microsoft Account to sync your settings and data across the devices. The backup and restore functionality offered by the launcher also makes use of your Microsoft Account to upload backups to OneDrive.
Moreover, you can long press anything on your feed and tap on ‘Continue on PC’ to see that file open on your computer in real time. This feature needs a little buffing up, but still, it works for most of the times. This feature comes handy if you are a Windows and Android user looking for some connectivity in both the platforms.
Overall, Microsoft Launcher is a full-fledged launcher replacement for Android. Although the application is still in beta, I did not face any glitches while I was trying the application. It’s been around four days I am using Microsoft Launcher on my primary phone, and I am not disappointed at all. The launcher offers great functionality and smooth experience which is consistent throughout the device. There are a few more features that we have not covered in this post, download the launcher to experience them. In future, we expect that the launcher will bring in more functionalities like ‘Continue on Windows’ to Android. All in all, a great launcher that is simple, flexible and fluid.
Click here to download Microsoft Launcher.