Apparently, Google might not be interested in finding and fixing loopholes on Windows Phone, the Microsoft mobile OS. But Microsoft, surprisingly, isn’t holding back. On Wednesday (October 22nd 2014), the software giant expanded its Garage project, to let the outside world see what Microsoft tech brains create during their own free time. While a good number of these projects might be Windows and iOS, the most fascinating ones are made for Google’s winning Android OS.
Microsoft Garage is some fresh air for the company, more so considered it’s all about the idea of encouraging employees to create cross-platform products during their spare time. To a large extent, other leading tech corporations have similar programs, including Google’s own 20 percent program, which lets staff members spend time working on whatever they think would be most beneficial for Google. But considered this is coming from Microsoft, the world’s leading proprietary software vendor, one cannot help but raise eyebrows.
The Garage endeavor starts with Next Lock Screen, which is Microsoft’s own view of a more useful Android Lock Screen. It can be downloaded from the Play Store, and it’s engineered with Microsoft’s new productivity rules. The most unique features in this are the prompt app launch and swipe dialing, which let you dial into a conference call from a calendar appointment, and automatically have the PIN keyed in. This might come in handy when you’re dialing in from behind a wheel. The quick launch app that comes with this new Lock Screen is also quite something, as it allows you to pin your top tools and apps to it.
Another Microsoft Android app that has been raising eyebrows is the Journeys & Notes application, built as a way to maintain a travel history log. Although it’s similar, in some sense, to foursquare – this app opens a treasure trove of tips and information from fellow travellers who’ve experienced the same routes as you. It’s made to be a social app that leaves a record of digital-created memories along the paths you’ve traveled.
Microsoft is also giving some attention to Android Wear, and a number of other fantastic research endeavors that are targeted at enhancing Android as a mobile OS. This is definitely an evolutionary trend, more so between companies that are seen as rivals rather than partners. To keep atop of things, we’ll be following up with Microsoft Garage to see how much it shakes the tastes of the Android community.