It was surprising enough to see Microsoft bringing its apps over to Android, the company did something completely out of character earlier this year when it started beta testing its own Android launcher. Known as Arrow Launcher, it separates itself from the rest of the Android launchers out there by using algorithms to decide what goes on your home screen, and is able to become smarter the more you use it. It’s an interesting concept, albeit one that people who enjoy customization probably won’t like, and Microsoft officially took it out of beta earlier this week. It can now be downloaded from the Play Store for free, and is definitely worth checking out.
After launching in beta over the summer, Microsoft’s Arrow Android launcher has hit the Google Play Store, where it’s available as a free download. Unlike a standard Android launcher, Arrow relies on algorithms to decide which apps, contacts, and files it shows on the home screen. The more you use it, Microsoft says, the smarter it gets. We’ve seen this concept before in other third-party launchers, such asYahoo’s Aviate and Nokia’s Z Launcher. But Arrow includes a few small tweaks to the formula, in a way that makes the predictive elements seem a bit less heavy-handed. The main screen, for instance, includes a list of 20 suggested apps, which can be hidden but not rearranged or organized into folders. The good news it that the bottom dock is customizable with folder support, and you can swipe up on it to reveal another five spots for your favorites. Arrow’s primary home screen doesn’t support widgets either, but you can add as many as you want to a separate widget-only screen. This is a bit confusing at first, because the widget screen isn’t shown by default, and it’s not immediately obvious that you can stack one page of widgets on top of another. But once you get used to this layout, it’s a pleasant way to glance at information.