For those of us who have been in the tech game a while, trying to figure out how Microsoft is going to survive long term has become a bit of a party game. They seemed to miss the boat on mobile hardware (despite their desperate attempts to the contrary), and the latest version of Windows was pretty much a flop, and the face of console gaming seems to be changing… but yet, trying to imagine a world without Microsoft seems almost impossible. With this in mind, they seem to be carving out a bit of a niche with productivity and business apps for a variety of platforms: not the least of which is Next Lock Screen for Android.
Designed under the Microsoft Garage project label, Next Lock Screen is a replacement launcher and home screen for your Android-powered devices. Key features include: a view of your calendar (letting you scroll through upcoming meetings and their locations), swipe to dial (letting you effortlessly join a conference call, complete with PIN), quick app launch (giving you access to your most-used apps based on your current location), all while being able to customize the look and feel with a location-driven, dynamic background.
New updates to the app have improved performance, added weather information for your location, increased compatibility with devices and Android versions, and added the ability to hide the system status bar.
What it adds up to, is an alternative launcher that is feature-rich without sacrificing performance.
Thankfully Microsoft Next Launch Screen remains free to download, so grab it while you can (and before they realize it has value).