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Microsoft Launcher Beta gets Cortana integration in version 4.6 [APK Download]

Since the demise of its own Windows Phone platform, Microsoft has been putting a lot of effort into creating a compelling suite of Android apps instead. Microsoft Launcher started life as the experimental Arrow Launcher but morphed into its current form late last year. It features a control center panel unlike any other Android home app and is unsurprisingly linked with Bing rather than Google for search.

A new beta update has just been released which integrates Microsoft's digital assistant, Cortana. It seems to work much as it does in the Cortana app (which doesn't need to be installed), but as an overlay on top of the launcher.

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Microsoft partners with Signal to bring end-to-end encryption to Skype

The Signal protocol—which powers the Edward Snowden-approved Signal Private Messenger—is being used to bring end-to-end encryption in Skype. The new "Private Conversations" feature is available to Skype Insiders running version 8.13.76.8, and is planned for a full rollout later this year. Naturally, both parties in a conversation must be running a supported Skype version for the feature to be usable.

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Latest OneNote update adds app shortcuts and Office Lens integration [APK Download]

With the demise of the Windows Phone operating system, Microsoft has seemingly put extra focus on app development for other platforms. That's great for us Android users, who are able to make use of the company's excellent productivity apps. OneNote is Microsoft's attempt at a note-taking app, and it stands as a worthy competitor for Google Keep, Evernote, and the like.

OneNote got a design overhaul last summer and has continued to add useful new features – such as fingerprint security – in the months since. The latest update brings it up to version 16.0.8827.2090 and includes Office Lens integration, app shortcuts, and phone number sign in.

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LastPass updates Android app to support Microsoft's Edge browser [APK Download]

As Microsoft's abandonment of Windows phone continued apace this year, the company moved to release more of its core apps on Android, and that included its Edge browser. It's been pretty successful, with more than one million installs, probably due to the "continuous browsing experience" it offers Windows 10 users. Now, there's even more good news for fans of the app.

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New DisplayHDR certification defines standards for HDR displays on PCs

Given that not all displays are equal—IPS is better than TN, HDR is better than non-HDR, some people prefer LCD, others prefer OLED—a certification system for what displays can do seems overdue. The display standards body VESA has (at least partially) filled that void with the newly-announced DisplayHDR standard, which defines the abilities of display panels used in notebook PCs and monitors for desktop PCs.

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Microsoft working on mobile companion app for Windows 10 Photos

One of the new features in Windows 10 is the Photos app, which obviously shows photos stored on your computer. With the recent Windows 10 Fall Creator's Update (ugh, I hate that name), the Photos app got a major upgrade, with the ability to create videos with 3D effects/music/text. It's like a modern successor to Windows Movie Maker.

Microsoft is working on additional improvements to Photos, including a companion app for iOS and Android.

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Microsoft Edge update adds dark theme and password syncing

Seemingly out of nowhere, Microsoft announced last month that it would bring its Edge Browser to Android and iOS. The Android version went live a week later, and despite having limited functionality at first, it has the basics right. Microsoft has started to fill in the feature gaps, with the latest update adding a dark theme and password syncing.

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Microsoft Office Android apps now available on all Chromebooks

For years, one of the most common complaints about Chromebooks was that they couldn't run the Office suite of applications. Microsoft has offered Android apps for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for a few years now, but they weren't made available to all Chromebooks for some reason.

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Microsoft Edge now available for Android [APK Download]

Last week, Microsoft made a pretty surprising announcement. The company revealed that it would bring its Edge browser to iOS and Android, making it easier for existing Edge users (and possible converts) to take their browsing history, bookmarks, and other data with them. Now the beta app is available for download from the Play Store.

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Outlook for Android is adding highly requested calendar features, including better event management and shared calendar syncing

Microsoft's Outlook team has been hard at work going through user requests recently, and upcoming updates to the Android app will add some of the most in-demand features. Using the feedback and votes collated on Outlook UserVoice, the team is bringing a number of enhancements to the calendar so that it now functions more like its desktop counterpart.

The most notable addition is the ability to sync shared calendars in the Android app. It will be possible to sync Office 365 and Outlook.com calendars that have been shared with you so you can edit and view them on the go.

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