Microsoft has started acting on its plans pretty fast. The company is already said to remove the Nokia branding from the Lumia smarphones. Now another step that the company has taken is to compete with Google.
The top level software giant has today released 2 apps for Android. As part of its Garage initiative (think Google's 20% time) the two new Android apps and an Android Wear app will be, thus, joining the dozens of applications that Microsoft already has in the Play Store.
The first app is a lockscreen for Android and comes dubbed as the Next Lock Screen. The app offers user access to the most often used functions on their phone. Moreover, the first thing one notices about it is the way notifications and reminders pop up. Precisely, the user is given a glance of what the notifications are about and further it also provides choice to users to act upon it. Thus users can take action via swiping a select notification off-screen.
At the bottom of the lockscreen, users will find access to their most commonly used apps - dialer, contacts, messages, etc. What is even better is that it is customizable and can expand to show even more apps.
"We saw there were a number of lockscreen apps, but none were focused on the productivity user," said Microsoft's Lawrence Ripsher.
Another app that Microsoft has launched is the Journey & Notes. You can call it a rich combination of note-taking app and social network. Thus, it allows users to write notes wherever they go. Further, users can also read notes written by others, or leave tips for other travelers, reminding them to not miss a view, warning them of a threat, or just drop a fun message to put a smile on somebody's face.
Next Lock Screen and Journeys & Notes are available in the Play Store for free. However, it appears that it is currently availability only in North America.