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Microsoft has quietly released its own Android launcher

Microsoft's relatively new strategy of pushing more apps onto more platforms continues apace with the quiet release of Arrow Launcher Beta: a basic but functional launcher for Android devices. As the name suggests, Arrow Launcher Beta is unfinished, and has been pushed onto the mobile scene with little fanfare, attracting beta-testers via a private Google+ group. (We downloaded a mirror of the launcher via the unofficial site Microsoft News, but doing so doesn't get you the updates accessed by signing up for the beta.)

swipe right for notes & reminders, left for frequent contacts

The launcher itself is pretty straightforward, with a pair of lists on the home screen displaying your most recent and most frequently used apps. Swiping up from the bottom of the screen brings up a customizable list of quick-access apps, as well as some settings and feedback options. Swiping right summons a simple Notes & Reminders page (where you can add tasks and schedule reminders), and swiping left show your most frequent contacts. There's also the option to update your wallpaper daily with images from Bing.

As you'd expect for a beta, the Arrow Launcher is a bit buggy: the names of apps on the bottom row of the home screen tend to be cut in half; the lists of frequent apps and contacts take a while to populate in any accurate fashion; and there's currently no support for widgets. Still, we're looking forward to seeing where Microsoft goes with this, especially as it continues to release more products for rival platforms, such as its Office Lens scanner app and Next Lock Screen. However, this week we have a feeling the company has more important things on its mind.