Microsoft’s New Android Launcher Aims to Make Your Phone Personal

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Arrow Launcher is the Android replacement launcher that Microsoft’s Garage has been testing for the last few months and in the process receiving thousands of comments on the Google+ page where beta testers were submitting feedback on the application. The results of all that feedback are visible in the final application which just became official on the Play Store hours ago. Arrow Launcher is one of the increasing number of efforts by Microsoft to build some quality applications for Android, a platform that is in essence, a competitor.

In the quest to make the smartphone personal again, Arrow Launcher is not doing anything new. A half dozen excellent Android applications have been there before and they already have a huge following on the Play Store. However, what sets Arrow Launcher apart as I have found out in the last few hours of my interaction with the application, many days after I interacted with it when it was in beta, is that it won’t be the one app eating up all the system resources. It will bring to fore all applications you use frequently (on the Apps page), the people you contact by calling or texting frequently (on the People page) and even display the latest photos or screenshots you have captured (on the Recent page).

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Unlike other such apps, Arrow Launcher doesn’t ditch the good old app drawer and it is there. In fact, just like the Android Marshmallow Google Now Launcher, it will also list your most frequently used applications on the upper most part of the app drawer before sorting all the other applications alphabetically. Users can even access toggles to some quick settings like airplane mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, flashlight and rotation lock by swiping up from the bottom when on the home screen. Widgets as well can be added on the home screen.

The application which is already on course to hitting 50,000 installs on the Play Store, can be installed on devices running on Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich and later.

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