February saw some considerable new apps, both in terms of new services like YouTube Kids and Sling TV, and in expanded tools like PhotoMath and Microsoft's first custom keyboard for Android. If you find it hard to see the tiny type on your new ultra-high-res phone, check out BIG Notifications. Below are our top seven picks from last month, along with some honorable mentions.
Android Police coverage: [APK Download] YouTube Kids Is Official, Adorable, And Now Available On Google Play [Hands-On]
YouTube is great. Read More
There are two kinds of physical keyboard users: those who never touch the 10-key area (that's the bit on the right that kinda looks like a calculator) and those who will only let you take their 10-key away when you pry it from their cold, dead hands. There's a reason you see a little add-on USB 10-key in that one aisle at Best Buy: data entry experts, especially those that work with Microsoft Excel, need those extra keys like Texans need 15-round ammo magazines. Well, 10-key addicts, Microsoft is here to help you nurse your addiction on Android.
Redmond has just released Keyboard for Excel, which is (wait for it) an Android virtual keyboard designed to be used with Excel. Read More
Microsoft OneDrive, in its first beta release, is showing off a totally revamped Material interface. It seems there are no feature additions from the latest stable version, so we're talking strictly cosmetic changes. But when comparing old to new, is that really such a bad thing?
This side-by-side might be the best argument for floating action buttons I have ever seen. The old version's controls on the bottom just seemed a very inefficient use of space and, overall, were just plain ugly. Here's another look at the update:
It doesn't take a very close look to see this is a big improvement. Read More
Microsoft's recently released Outlook Preview for Android has generally been well-received by end users, but it had this little problem. One of the main reasons to like it was its native support of Microsoft Exchange accounts. Unfortunately, it did not support the device administrator features we are accustomed to seeing when using Exchange or Office 365 accounts. An update rolling out today helps to bring its security back in line, though.
So what was missing? Well, the administrator of the account can require that your device be locked with a PIN. This is often the case with corporate accounts, since a company doesn't want your carelessness to cause the loss of company secrets or things like that. Read More
Next Lock Screen is certainly one of the most usable projects to come out of Microsoft Garage. It's a contextual lock screen made with busy professionals in mind, that not only displays notifications, calendar events, and incoming calls and messages, but also tries to guess which apps you might need based on whether you're at work, home, or moving around. A music player with controls is included as well, along with weather updates, and a quick option to start a conference call.
One would think that an app geared toward the business crowd should have some privacy elements to prevent unwanted access to the information, calling, or better yet the entire phone, but the first version of Next was completely unsecured as Michael pointed out when he covered the app's release. Read More
Last week the scuttlebutt around the strangely popular world of tech corporate acquisitions was that Microsoft had purchased Sunrise Calendar, a good-looking and well-received alternative to built-in calendar apps on Android and iOS. Today Microsoft has stated that yes indeed, they bought it, though they haven't confirmed the reported $100 million dollar price tag. The confirmation came in the form of a YouTube video that has oddly been set to private, but various news outlets including VentureBeat got a look at it before it went dark. Read More
Microsoft wants you to use OneDrive instead of some other cloud storage solution. It also wants you to take part in the Bing Rewards program. So here's an idea, how about giving people 100GB of free OneDrive storage for two years when they sign up for Bing Rewards?
That's exactly what the tech giant has decided to do. Until February 28th, you can get 100GB of OneDrive for free just by becoming a Bing Rewards member. To do so, login to your Microsoft account and go to your Bing Rewards dashboard. You should see a page that says Not a Bing Rewards member? Read More
Like any company out there, Microsoft wants you to use its products. In those cases when you choose not to, it reserves the right to buy whatever it is that you actually are using. That way you're happy and you're still using Microsoft's stuff. Everybody wins, in a way.
The company's latest acquisition, according to TechCrunch, is Sunrise Calendar. It reportedly dished out over $100 million to seal the deal.
Sunrise Calendar is available for a number of platforms spread across mobile and desktop. Want it for Android? There's an app. Want it on your laptop? You can get it for Chrome. Read More
January brought us the yearly madness that is CES, but that doesn't mean much in terms of software. The biggest news is probably Microsoft's continued expansion into multi-platform support for its biggest software sellers, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and now even Outlook. Google has been uncharacteristically quiet so far in 2015, aside from updating its current stable of apps.
Microsoft Outlook Preview
Android Police review: Microsoft Releases Outlook Preview For Android
It's been possible to use Microsoft Exchange mail accounts on Android for years, but never exactly in an ideal or intuitive way. Microsoft is changing that thanks to its new multi-platform approach, releasing something we never thought we'd see a few years ago: a first-party Outlook email app. Read More
Yammer is a social network for people in suits, a way for corporate employees to learn about their colleagues and communicate without all the distractions that come with relying on a platform that's connected to the entire world. Microsoft bought the service in 2012, but apps remain available for iOS and Android. In the latest round of updates, the latter version is getting Android Wear support.
Out of the box, Android Wear could already display any notifications that Yammer shot out. This new integration adds the ability to like messages and reply using speech.
The notification experience has improved on the host device as well. Read More