Redmond may be riding high on some well-deserved positive press after the launch of Windows 10, but the various developer teams are still going full steam with diverse support for other platforms. Microsoft has released more apps for Android than anyone might have expected from an erstwhile competitor, and it continues to improve them. Today the note syncing app OneNote gets some notable improvements, specifically by requiring one less app.
Previously Microsoft released a stand-alone Android Wear app for OneNote, which allowed users to view notes on their watches and create new ones with a voice command. Now that separate app is no longer necessary, as the functionality is baked into the main app. Read More
Microsoft continues to branch out to other platforms beyond its own Windows ecosystem. The latest app from Redmond to land on Android is Microsoft Translator. Not only can you talk to the phone to get translations, it has support for Android Wear as well.
Xbox Music is now Groove. This is news that Microsoft detailed weeks ago, but it's only now—coinciding with the release of Windows 10—that we're seeing the name change on Android.
In the latest version, the rebranding has taken place. Microsoft highlights the ability to upload your music to OneDrive, stream music with a Music Pass subscription ($9.99 a month or $99 a year), and save files for offline use.
Not wasting any time, Sonos has already announced that it supports Groove. The integration is still in beta, but you're free to try it out right away. Look for it under Add Music Services. Read More
Microsoft surprised Android developers last year with the launch of a brand new emulator designed for performance and features that aren't available anywhere else. While the initial Preview release only included an image for KitKat, subsequent updates introduced an expanded set of emulator images and some valuable new features. While a high-speed emulator is certainly compelling, many developers still didn't adopt it because it had to be downloaded and installed alongside a very large Visual Studio package, not to mention it was also frustrating to set up for use with other IDEs. Last week, Microsoft unburdened the emulator and released it as a standalone download along with step-by-step instructions to set it up to easily run with Android Studio and Eclipse with ADT. Read More
In line with their recent trend of developing for all platforms, Microsoft has quietly released a semi-private beta of a launcher app called Arrow. The early release sports an interface reminiscent of Aviate, but appears less devoted to contextual recommendations. While the current version is fairly basic, the big ideas may still be on the horizon.
The first thing I noticed is that Arrow replaced the stock icons for system apps like Phone and Messages, which isn't in and of itself a bad thing but an unexpected behavior.
The main screen is divided into three sections. There is a row on top for recent apps, a larger area in the middle for frequently used apps, and the bottom row for user-selected quick access apps. Read More
Microsoft has restricted the Cortana virtual assistant to Windows device thus far, but an official Android release is right around the corner. You don't have to wait, though. The beta Cortana app has leaked, and it appears to be fully functional. Just grab the app from APK Mirror and give it a shot.
Microsoft started a beta test for its Hyperlapse video app a while back, but today it's out of beta and ready for download. This app takes a boring video and speeds it up into a clean time lapse clip. It doesn't have a ton of settings to play with, but most of the magic is automatic.
I love me some Microsoft keyboards - for my money their layout and key designs beat Logitech any day. The company's latest entry into the mobile accessory market is a Bluetooth keyboard designed to be as tiny and compact as possible, folding lengthways into a rough square just 5.8 inches across and less than half an inch thick, about the same size as a CD case. Fold it open and you've got a full six-row keyboard ready to be paired with a phone, tablet, or even a full desktop computer, and Microsoft claims that the Universal Foldable Keyboard is made with Android, iOS, and Windows in mind. Read More
In a move that isn't all that surprising, Sunrise Calendar now offers full support for Office 365 accounts. Considering that Microsoft bought Sunrise a few months ago, it was no great leap to expect better integration into that ecosystem. We already saw Wunderlist support added shortly after Microsoft bought them, too. Office 365 joins a hefty list of providers you can use with Sunrise.
There are many more that I couldn't include in the screenshot above, including another full screen of "application" providers and both Google and Wunderlist, which are already a part of my account.
I didn't need to update my Sunrise app to see the new option. Read More