Microsoft may not dominate mobile, but its Launcher for Android is pretty slick

Microsoft has struggled mightily to gain a foothold in the mobile market that’s dominated by Android and iOS, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have an impact. For those of you who enjoy customizing your smartphones, sorry iPhone users, Microsoft released a major upgrade to its Microsoft Launcher today.

What is a launcher?

A launcher is a program that allows Android devices to customize the user interface without changing the underlying software. You can install a variety of launchers from the Google Play Store, with some of the most popular being: Nova by Teslacoil software, the Pixel Launcher by Google and the Hola Launcher by Holaverse. A launcher can allow for custom icons to be installed, programmable gestures that aren’t included in the Android device’s factory version of Android, and a whole host of other things that can make every user experience unique to their personal phones.

The Microsoft Launcher was released as the Arrow Launcher almost two years ago, and quietly got an update today. Its main purpose is to connect Android devices to Microsoft computers for a seamless experience. If you use Windows 10 at work or for school, it’s nice to be able to view your documents, pictures, and other files on your Android smartphone. For those of you who don’t use Microsoft software, the Microsoft Launcher is still a great launcher worth checking out. It certainly makes it easier to keep track of your events from your Outlook account, as most professionals use on a daily basis. This feature alone is nice to have and is a quick swipe to the right to access what’s on your schedule.

Some of the new features released on the Microsoft Launcher:

  • The Feed: Info at your Fingertips. With just a quick swipe-to-the-right, Microsoft Launcher offers a tailored feed of your important events, top news, recent activities, favorite people and most frequently used apps.

Microsoft Launcher themes phone on three Android phones

  • Beautiful and customizable. Launcher has wide-ranging ways to let you personalize your phone, it’s easy to set colors of backgrounds—and our new ‘gesture’ support will let even hard-core customizers create the environment that makes them most productive.

Continue on PC shown on two Android phones

  • Continue on PC. And of course, Microsoft Launcher has been designed to make it easy for you to seamlessly continue what you’re working on – whether it’s photos, documents and more—on your PC.

If you want to try the new Microsoft Launcher on your Android device, you need to sign up for the beta program here. Once signed up, you are free to download, install and play with the new launcher on your Android device. If you don’t like the look, layout or features, simply uninstall it and your phone will revert back to normal.

For those of you who love wallpapers, the Microsoft Launcher has the ability to change your wallpaper daily to something beautiful and in HD. Or if you want a faster change, simply click on the wallpaper icon and it will find something new and fun for you. In my limited exposure to the launcher, I’ve found it to be super quick, easy to use, and quite a nice experience from the stock TouchWiz launcher on my Samsung Galaxy Note 8.

 

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