If you don't like your Android smartphone's home screen and launcher, Microsoft has an app it would like you to try out. The company has launched Arrow Launcher with which it aims to improve your experience on the phone, and the launcher is currently available in private beta.
Arrow Launcher reminds us of Aviate, an Android launcher by Yahoo
, but there are some noticeable differences. With Arrow Launcher, Microsoft
aims to tone down the clutter from your home screen. It is doing so by giving you quick access to your most favourite things and steering away the noise.
First thing you will realise after installing it is just how light and fast it is. Weighing around 4MB, Arrow Launcher consumes minimal resources. Once you've installed the launcher, it divides your home screen into three different segments: People, Apps, and Notes & Reminders.
The People page lists the coordinates of people you frequently talk to. It gives you a quick option to give them a ring or send them a text message. It is definitely intuitive, and can easily save you a few clicks. But if you want to call a person you haven't talked to in days, you'll have no other option but to click on the phone icon.
The Apps page is impressive too. Instead of showcasing all the apps you've installed on your phone, it saves you from a lot of trouble by only displaying the apps you seem to use the most. There's also a Recent tab on the page that showcases the apps you've recently opened.
Titled Notes & Reminders, the third page lets you quickly save reminders and take notes, Which is perhaps the right way to go about it. When you want to jot down something really quickly, sometimes it can make a world of a difference if you didn't have to waste seconds in finding a note-taking app from the menu.
The app drawer gets a paint job too. Once you've installed the app, it curates your menu in accordance with different letters, making it easier to locate an app. Alternatively, there's also a search bar on the top that should help you find a particular app.
In our brief testing, we were rather pleased with its offerings. Although it doesn't support swipe features as Nokia's Z-Launcher
which many users like, and also doesn't let you add more pages, its current feature lineup still make it exciting. It is not available on Google Play yet, and users will have to sign up to the Arrow Launcher Beta community
on Google to request an invite to the beta. Alternatively, users can download the Microsoft-signed apk file
and then sideload it on their phones.
Arrow Launcher once again showcases company's growing interest to capture users on the rival platforms. Microsoft realises that it needs to go to rival mobile platforms if users don't come to Windows Phone.