Skip to main content

Microsoft updates its Android Launcher with dark mode, custom icons, and daily wallpapers

Microsoft updates its Android Launcher with dark mode, custom icons, and daily wallpapers

/

A big visual refresh for Microsoft’s basecamp on Android

Share this story

Version 6 of Launcher includes a dark mode and other visual updates.
Version 6 of Launcher includes a dark mode and other visual updates.
Image: Microsoft

Microsoft has updated its Launcher app for Android to version 6, giving the software a big visual overhaul and a performance upgrade on top of its existing functionality.

Version 6 of Launcher has a new app icon, dark mode, daily wallpaper feature (provided by Bing), customizable icons, and it now works in landscape orientation, too. There’s also a personalized news feed that updates throughout the day, and general performance improvements, including faster loading and reduced battery drain, thanks to a new codebase.

The app is available to download here from Google’s Play Store, and you can read more about the changes in Microsoft’s blog post about the launch here.

The main purpose of the Launcher app is to make it easier to transition between tasks on Android and Windows devices.
The main purpose of the Launcher app is to make it easier to transition between tasks on Android and Windows devices.
Image: Microsoft

The Launcher app has always been an interesting experiment for Microsoft, giving the company a foothold on the world’s biggest mobile platform and a place to explore how Windows integrates with Android. But this latest update looks like its preparing the ground for Microsoft’s most ambitious Android launch yet: the dual-screen Surface Duo.

Microsoft unveiled the Surface Duo last year, and says it’ll be launching the device, which runs on Android, at the end of 2020. The new Launcher app looks like a test run for some of the device’s aesthetics, and the inclusion of a landscape mode makes sense for the dual-screen Duo. If you want a taste of what Microsoft will do with its first Android device, the updated Launcher app is a good start.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed 10 minutes ago Not just you

T
Thomas Ricker10 minutes ago
The Simpsons pays tribute to Chrome’s dino game.

Season 34 of The Simpsons kicked off on Sunday night with an opening credits “couch gag” based on the offline dino game from Google’s Chrome browser. Cactus, cactus, couch, d’oh! Perfect.


T
Youtube
Thomas Ricker7:29 AM UTC
Table breaks before Apple Watch Ultra’s sapphire glass.

”It’s the most rugged and capable Apple Watch yet,” said Apple at the launch of the Apple Watch Ultra (read The Verge review here). YouTuber TechRax put that claim to the test with a series of drop, scratch, and hammer tests. Takeaways: the titanium case will scratch with enough abuse, and that flat sapphire front crystal is tough — tougher than the table which cracks before the Ultra fails — but not indestructible.


E
Twitter
Emma RothSep 25
Rihanna’s headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

Apple Music’s set to sponsor the Halftime Show next February, and it’s starting out strong with a performance from Rihanna. I honestly can’t remember which company sponsored the Halftime Show before Pepsi, so it’ll be nice to see how Apple handles the show for Super Bowl LVII.


E
Twitter
Emma RothSep 25
Starlink is growing.

The Elon Musk-owned satellite internet service, which covers all seven continents including Antarctica, has now made over 1 million user terminals. Musk has big plans for the service, which he hopes to expand to cruise ships, planes, and even school buses.

Musk recently said he’ll sidestep sanctions to activate the service in Iran, where the government put restrictions on communications due to mass protests. He followed through on his promise to bring Starlink to Ukraine at the start of Russia’s invasion, so we’ll have to wait and see if he manages to bring the service to Iran as well.


Welcome to the new Verge

Revolutionizing the media with blog posts

Nilay PatelSep 13
E
External Link
Emma RothSep 25
We might not get another Apple event this year.

While Apple was initially expected to hold an event to launch its rumored M2-equipped Macs and iPads in October, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicts Apple will announce its new devices in a series of press releases, website updates, and media briefings instead.

I know that it probably takes a lot of work to put these polished events together, but if Apple does pass on it this year, I will kind of miss vibing to the livestream’s music and seeing all the new products get presented.


E
External Link
Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.


A
The Verge
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.