Microsoft Garage launches two Android apps for your lock screen and travels

next_lock_screen_app_icon

Today, Microsoft Garage was introduced as an “after-hours idea factory” for company employees to work on their own projects. Microsoft started the day by launching Bing Torque for Android Wear. Now, two apps for phones are available in the Play Store. One is a lock screen replacement and the other is a social app for traveling.

Microsoft wants to be front and center on your Android phone with Next Lock Screen. The app is all about launching apps as quickly as possible. It displays things like your calendar, missed calls, emails, messages, and more. There is a swipe-to-dial feature that allows conference seamlessly. So it seems that people looking for productivity will find Next Lock Screen more useful. A nice touch for Next Lock Screen is that the background is dynamic and changes throughout the day and based on location.

Hit the break for more.


Read more

Rovio takes flight with new RETRY game

rovio_retry_icon

Rovio is primarily known for their Angry Birds line of games. Their newest title, RETRY, invites players to take flight in a different manner, this time in an “8-bit jalopy of an airplane.” Rovio really plays up the retro aspects of the title, pointing out the 8-bit graphics look, the collection of coins as you work through levels, and a synthesized soundtrack.
Read more

Google introduces ‘Inbox’, an alternative to Gmail that works for you

Google_INbox_App_Large_Icon

Google just unveiled “Inbox,” which sounds a lot like our earlier story on Bigtop. It’s a completely separate app from Gmail, which aims to be a better alternative for those that find they are overburdened with email. When Email started, it was a simple way to pass messages, and it made you more efficient. However, as email as grown over the years, it’s gotten so distracting that it sometimes is hard to actually get things done. One could argue that it no longer makes us efficient.

According to Google, Inbox works for you and helps you get to the important information quicker. This is all done by new features such as Bundles, Highlights, Reminders, Assists, and Snoozing.


Read more

Microsoft wants you to use Bing Torque instead of saying “OK Google” on your Android Wear smartwatch

Bing_Torque_App_Large_Icon

I’m not sure what’s going on at Microsoft these days. First, Microsoft Research released a pretty much useless keyboard for Android Wear smartwatches, and now, Microsoft Garage has just released Bing Torque.

Bing Torque replaces the need to speak “OK Google” each time you want to ask a question. With Bing Torque, you can just twist your wrist and then say your question. If you’re reading between the lines here, it’s not just the “OK Google” command that’s being replaced here. Yup, you guessed it. Next time you want to find out how tall President Obama is, you will be asking Bing. Microsoft is saying that it’s like having Cortana running on your smartwatch. However, it might not work for commands like, “Set a timer” or “Send a text to _____.”

The app works well on the LG G Watch, LG G Watch R, and Samsung Gear Live, but not so well on the Moto 360. If Bing is your thing, then by all means, hit the break and check out the screenshots and download this app today.


Read more

Google rumored to be working on task-oriented email client Codenamed Project Bigtop

google-bigtop1

Email is an aging form of communication, and many people have stopped using it simply because it has become so hard to manage their inbox. Apps like Mailbox have come along to make email management easier, and Google have added a few features like Priority Inbox to streamline your mail, but new rumors seem to indicate that Google has something planned that could change the way we use our email.
Read more

Nokia’s HERE Maps now available on all Android devices

HERE_Maps_Route_and_Drive

Well that exclusive was short lived. About 2 weeks ago, Nokia’s HERE maps made its debut on Android, but only for Samsung devices through the Samsung Apps Store. I’m not sure I ever understood the exclusive, but I definitely don’t understand the fact that it only lasted 2 weeks.

Nokia has made the HERE Beta app available to the rest of Android. Unfortunately it’s not in the Play Store. You will have to hit the source link below to grab the APK and manually install it yourself.


Read more

Shots of Google Calendar material design overhaul surface

google_calendar_material_09

The calendar app on a smartphone may not be the most interesting app users access, but it is typically one of the core functions of our mobile devices. Although they may not be “sexy,” calendars play an important role and people are interested in attempts to make the data contained within their calendars easy to access. With the updates rolling out for a host of Google apps to implement their new material design guidelines and appear as part of Android Lollipop, the calendar app is on the list. Some new screenshots of the updated app have been obtained that reveal some of the work Google has done to refresh the calendar.
Read more