back to article Microsoft's 'Arrow' Android launcher flies into Play store

Microsoft has decided to press ahead with its Garage spare-time-dev-sandpit project, Arrow. First announced as a beta in July, Arrow is intended to showcase Redmond's newly-found love of other people's platforms (and, perchance, a desire to get its name in front of a wider world than Windows Phone). Arrow's now ditched the " …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "he only Microsoft integration in Arrow so far is to use Bing to grab a new wallpaper every day."

    Microsoft - right at the cutting edge as usual !!?

    1. Phil Kingston

      To be fair, that's the feature that's got me downloading it right now.

      1. Phil Kingston

        I take it back.

        The daily changing wallpaper suffers from the same problem as its desktop equivalent - Americans.

        Americans, and particularly MS, aren't aware of other countries or timezones. The concept has never been considered by them. Thus, as with Bing Desktop, the background doesn't change daily, but at some strangely offset hour of the day.

        I'd like to see a different wallpaper when I get up in the morning, that's cutesy. But having it change whilst on the way to work is just a momentary puzzlement.

        It's the same throughout MS, they're not prepared to market anything outside the US.

        1. jinx3y

          Wow...never thought I would read about someone defining their day by their sad...

    2. dogged

      > Microsoft - right at the cutting edge as usual !!?

      If it did any more, you'd be screaming "SPYWARE" as you happily used Google's Android.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Even more evidence that Android is key to Microsoft strategy, and windows phone is a failed 7 year experiment, just like Xbox, bing, and countless other failed experiments

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Xbox revenues are 70bn a year. If you count that as a 'failed experiment' then I'm glad you don't do my annual appraisal! Where do you work that the bar for success is so high?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Losing over 2bn a year, every year since its premature rushed birth, that's is a failed experiment. Being outsold by you competition 4:1. That is a failed experiment,

      2. d3vy Silver badge

        Xbox is a failed experiment?

        Someone tell my kids and all of their friends because xboxes/games and peripherals have been at the top of the Xmas lists consistently for years.

  2. Matt Collins

    Not Potent

    "ability to determine your most-used apps is not potent"...

    Sounds just like the Windows add/remove programs control panel, which reckons a program I use every day (Visual Studio) is used rarely and yet a simple DVD ISO mount utility I downloaded several years ago and used only once is "frequent".

    1. Boothy Silver badge

      Re: Not Potent

      They probably borrowed the formula from the MS team that brought us progress bars in Windows.

      10% done - 20 minutes remaining.

      25% done - 45 minutes remaining.

      50% done - 2 minutes remaining.

      75% done - 1,375 minutes remaining.

      100% done - (Sits at 100% done for the next 5 minutes!)

    2. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Not Potent

      The ISO mount utility is spyware burrowed away where you can't find it. 10 times a day, it forwards all your email to Nigeria.

  3. saif

    Shell convergence > OS Convergence > device convergence?

    If the same launcher could be presented on Android as well as windows phones, then later find that android apps can work on Windows phones, then that Microsoft's browser is just skinned Chromium, and later find that Windows really runs a modified BSD Kernel, and then that Nadella and Linus were distant cousins, followed by the discovery that this was all plot by a branch of NSA, funded by the Chinese. Yeah...

    1. Martin 47

      Re: Shell convergence > OS Convergence > device convergence?

      Well its a bit early but, go on then, I'll have a pint of whatever your drinking

  4. hplasm

    Way t o go...

    "...rather than from the top down as you would in Android. "

    Another 'Steering wheel now on floor, we know best' moment from Redmond.

    1. dogged

      Re: Way t o go...

      How stupid of them to put the controls where your thumbs are.

      1. Paul Shirley

        Re: Way t o go...

        Indeed, how stupid of MS putting less frequently used controls where everyone else puts more used nav buttons and the launch dock.

  5. Britt

    Existing feature

    Well, there is an option to filter apps by usage on the Sony phones. Seems to work well enough, though a large enough update to an app can reset its position.

    1. Paul Shirley

      Re: Existing feature

      My lg's allow alphabetic, install date and manual ordering but not by usage. But that makes sense because you pin frequent apps to the home screens in Android instead of launching from the app draw.

      Trying to find things in a randomised sort order seems like a poor idea anyway, much like most of Microsoft ui thinking of late.

  6. Paul Shirley

    halfway to mediocre

    A little surprised there are relatively few obvious fake reviews on the store page, not what i expect from Microsoft. Even more surprised people actually want a feature list inferior to most devices default launcher. But I'm still perpetually surprised that people like ios ripoff launchers, with all the apps dumped on the home screen and bugger all organisation options so what do i know!

    Left wondering why ms bothered making such an unambitious launcher, with a promised feature list that would degrade the quality of any of my current devices.

  7. Avatar of They
    Thumb Down

    tsk tsk.

    I like the idea of going on line to change background daily.

    But then you said Bing and so I thought what photos exactly would end up on my phone, none would be popular celebs or those trending, or ones that might be considered cool (I sound old now), none would be relevant (to me or my hobbies) and instead a stream of nonsensical landscapes or city scapes that I couldn't give a monkeys about but which are DRM free.

    And then I remember M$ is a malware peddler these days, so while it grabs the photo for you, what else is it doing? What is it sending? Bad enough using Android means Google has everything, but M$ as well as Google?

    Not for me then.

    1. hplasm

      Re: tsk tsk.

      "...what photos exactly would end up on my phone"

      Every day, bing(e) would deliver a picture of TIKFAM as your desktop.

      One day....

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No doubts

    Another quality addition to play app store, glad to see google proactively checking for malware in it's software repository ;) I wonder if this shuts your phone down if you fail to update when redmond expects you to?

  9. theOtherJT

    What's the point?

    No, really... why? I don't see anything to differentiate this from the default one other than in terms of window-dressing.

    I'd understand it if they'd made it sort of like the WinPho UI - that's actually different, and if you like that sort of thing you might want one, but I don't see the point of this at all.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MSFT Strategy

    10 on error goto mass_layoffs

    20 embrace, extend, extinguish

    30 goto 20

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: MSFT Strategy

      "10 on error goto mass_layoffs"

      Our team was warned there's big news coming at year end

  11. phil dude

    you forgot...

    the PRINT "corporate lies...." statement....


  12. leon clarke

    Auto adjusting to what the user does often

    This always sounds like a good idea but personally I hate it.

    I want a machine to behave like a machine which means that the controls stay where I expect them to be. Am I in a minority here? The idea of being good at working something because you've got used to how to work it seems to be hopelessly old-fashioned these days.

    If they're in the wrong place, I want to move them to the right place myself.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Auto adjusting to what the user does often

      The devil is in the details....

      For example, on a desktop machine I like programs to stay in the same place on the Start Menu. However, it's handy when a program's File Menu presents a list of the most recently saved documents.

      The point is, 'Recent Documents...' doesn't replace 'Open', but complements it.

    2. mIRCat

      Re: Auto adjusting to what the user does often

      "I want a machine to behave like a machine which means that the controls stay where I expect them to be. Am I in a minority here? " - leon clarke

      Our future machine overlords will not be pleased with comments like this.

      Let me be the first to say I am happy to accept whatever changes our machine overlords deem necessary.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    About as useful as

    Google's bloody email label tabs

  14. Mikel

    Microsoft software on my Nexus?

    Not gonna happen.

  15. Timmy B Silver badge

    I tried the beta...

    ... and really didn't find anything special about it. There are other launchers that do similar things in the same way and ones that do more in different ways. Sadly it doesn't seem to bring anything new to the table which is a shame as Windows Mobile is genuinely different. I far prefer the WM 10 launcher and would/will swap to it depending on if they get running android apps right as there are a couple that I use daily that WM simply doesn't have.

  16. frank ly

    My clutter is good clutter

    "... so Android users don't have to sift through the clutter of an OEM's can't-delete-but-don't-use house apps."

    On the Android phones I've used (three different ones over 5 years), you can put any application you like on any of your many screens and not have an application icon on any screen if you don't want it there. In this way, I customise my phone's appearance according to _my_ needs and preferenes. Maybe they were using a different kind of Android phone.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    No thank you. Take your ecosystem and go somewhere else, Microsoft.

    Also, it looks really ugly.

  18. MattMarcSmith

    An alternative launcher

    I found the Aviate Launcher to have a lot more functionality and had some cool features that would make it better than Microsoft's attempt here. The app's recently been bought out by Yahoo so they've now bundled stuff in like the top ten news stories of the day and Yahoo weather, but it always included the 'wallpaper a day' feature some others have expressed interest in.

    Check out the description and features on the Play Store and you may be pleasantly surprised. Got a few minor niggles on my OnePlus One, but overall I like it.

  19. Gordon 11

    If it's used a lot - it goe son the Home screen...

    Hmm...the apps listing on my Moto4G/v2 changed several weeks back to be a scrollable list (rather than a paged one) and the top row is now the 4 most recently used apps.

    As has been noted, you can pin apps to your home screen (or to a folder on it...) anyway.

  20. Anthony Hegedus Silver badge

    I hate anything from Microsoft but I'm willing to give them a chance

    So it's a bit simplistic but hey, maybe I want simplistic. I'll give it a try and see how it goes. So far, it seems not to have crashed or blue screened or anything, which makes a change for my favourite junk software company. So far the only bug I've found is it won't work with my favourite texting app

  21. Bladeforce

    To be fair..

    ..this is Microsoft so lets give it 125 updates to be even remotely useful if at all

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