A part of Microsoft’s Garage initiative is related to the release of two new Android apps and an Android Wear app along with dozens of applications that the company has in Google’s Play Store. The series of these Android apps are actually a part of an experiment meant to help users improve the way in which you search, launch apps, and see information on your Smartphone.
The most interesting and debated one is the Next Lock Screen replacement geared towards productivity. Even if there is a wide number of Lockscreen apps, none of them was focused on the productivity of the user. Next Lock Screen is meant to make things fast by displaying your calls, texts and calendar appointments in a list so you can easily swipe each item to act on it.
Microsoft focused on the ability to join a conference call while making the call feature accessible, effective and simple.
The new lock screen feature also lets you quickly access your favorite apps and settings as well as to organize them in various categories. If you are not enjoying the new aspect, you can easily swipe away the Next Lock Screen to the default lock screen.
When you want to use Google Now, all you have to do is to lift your hand and say OK, Google. Now, this approach was replaced with the Bing Torque. This Android wear lets you search Bing instead of Google from your smart watch. More important, it lets you start a voice search simply by twisting your wrists, so you do not have to actually say the words.
Aside from Next Lock Screen and Bing Torque, Microsoft also introduces Journeys & Notes. This is a social, location tracking app. It keeps a log of the places you have been and connect with other people you have shared each place. If you are familiar with Foursquare-style check-in app, I am sure that you will find this feature quite useful. With Journeys & Notes, you can leave notes associated with places and see notes left by others.
The fourth Microsoft Garage app heading to Android Play Store is a game that combines real-time strategy and top-down shooter features. Voice Commander is a multi-player game that supports up to 8 different controllers.
Next Lock Screen, Journeys & Notes, Voice Commander and Bing Torque are all available in Google’s Play Store for free. However, it seems that the availability is limited to North America so far.