Whether you use Windows Phone or not, chances are at some point you're going to have to get used to the concept of tiles. Microsoft's putting them everywhere. On your Xbox, PC, tablet... They're unavoidable. If you like the idea of tiles over icons, though, here's an app you might want to try out: Tile Launcher Beta. While it's not quite a clone of the MS-borne smartphone interface (for example, you can still have a custom background), it does place brightly colored squares on a continuous scrolling homescreen.
Over a year ago, Microsoft released an official Hotmail app to the Play Store. And it sucked. Well, it still pretty much sucks. Now, the same dev team - which goes by Microsoft + SEVEN - has released an abomination they're called "Outlook.com." It's pretty clear that they didn't even try on this one:
Just look at that UI! You don't have to take our word for how bad it is, though; a quick look through the Play Store reviews should do offer a pretty good idea of what this app's all about:
Definitely not a good one for Microsoft.
It seems like the Android world is getting a ton of extra tablet love in the past few months. Today, Skype joined the party by finally introducing an optimized UI for those of you with a little more screen to love. While the new look is nice, it bizarrely forces your slate into landscape mode. Even on the Nexus 7, you have no choice but to use the wider layout. This probably isn't a bad thing, since it looks great in this mode, and might seem cramped otherwise.
It seems the rumors can't stop flowing out of Redmond. Last month, a representative from a Microsoft subsidiary in Czech Republic claimed that Office would be coming to Android in 2013. While the company distanced itself from those remarks pretty quickly, that may simply be a smokescreen to cover leaks, like the kind the Verge picked up, including a few screenshots of Office running on iOS, and information on the release for our little green buddy.
There's a startling amount of crossover between people who use Android for their mobile needs and Windows and Xbox for their desktop and console gaming. The SmartGlass app has been a definite hit for Xbox 360 users who also have Windows Phone 7 devices... all eight of them. Now Android users can join the fun: Microsoft's released the official SmartGlass app for Android, available for free in the Play Store.
If you're not familiar with SmartGlass, it controls just about every aspect of the media-friendly Xbox 360 aside from actual game control.
Let's start with a disclaimer, shall we? Analysts are generally full of it. When we hear a claim that says, with undeserving certainty, that come 2016 there will be 2.3 billion Android and 2.28 billion Windows devices, we're a little skeptical. The likelihood that anyone knows exactly how many units of a particular platform will sell to that level of accuracy is almost none.
However, as we approach what might just be the single biggest week for Microsoft in decades, it's worth asking the question: are Android and Windows gearing up for a battle over the next few years?
According to a Czech press release unearthed by The Verge, Microsoft may be readying native Office apps for Android. As of right now, the only programs that have mobile versions on the Play Store are OneNote and Lync. Otherwise known as "the ones very few people care about." If this report is to be believed, though, we may see native versions of the entire Office suite.
According to the Verge's translations, Microsoft said this:
"In addition to Windows, Office will be also available on other operating systems, Windows Phone, Windows RT, Mac OS, Android, iOS and Symbian"
Redmond, by way of the Czech Republic, also pointed out that there would be new versions of its Office Web Apps.
Microsoft's competitor to Dropbox and Google Drive, SkyDrive, just got an official Android app. Surprisingly, it actually looks like it was designed for Android, though the Metro influence is hard to deny.
For the unaware, SkyDrive is Microsoft's take on cloud storage, though it goes a step further by integrating remote access and collaboration tools (similar to Google Drive). While SkyDrive is undoubtedly a powerful tool, the Android app only allows for a portion of the functionality of the desktop service.
This may not be strictly Android-related news, but it's safe to say that what Google does to search results is relevant to our readers' interests, no? Today, Google announced via its Inside Search blog that the company will start including the volume of valid copyright removal notices as a factor in determining how high or low a site ranks in its search results. Translation: pirate sites won't be removed entirely, but they'll start ranking lower than legitimate sites.
I want to ask everyone a question - well, everyone who owns an Android tablet, that is - how often do you instinctively reach for it, as opposed to your phone or laptop? I don't care what the reason is, I'm just genuinely curious how much of a "tweener" role your Android tablet has taken in your life. And after you read this editorial, share that story with me in the comments, because I'd really like to have a discussion with people on this.