Microsoft failed its own attempt to sell smartphones, but it’s not entirely out of the smartphone game.
In fact, a free app named “Arrow” from Microsoft, available for Android smartphones, is just one example of how Microsoft continues to operate in the mobile space. You might not have heard of it. Don’t worry, you’ll be an Arrow expert in just a few minutes.
Arrow is an Android launcher, or a totally custom skin that changes how you interact with and use some of Android’s home screen and main functions. Arrow was first developed and launched a couple of years ago by Microsoft Garage, a small part of the company that builds and launches experimental new products. It recently received a major update that you might like more than your Android smartphone’s default settings.
Let’s take a look.
You can get Arrow in the Google Play Store. Just search for it on any Android smartphone and tap “Install” from the app page. Tap “Open” when it’s finished.
On the next screen you’ll give Arrow permission to access your phone’s apps, messages and more. This is all so it works properly. Keep tapping “Allow.”
Choose your wallpaper. I prefer the “Bing” wallpaper because it’s updated daily with really gorgeous images.
This is the Arrow homescreen. It’s clean and it’ll keep your previous settings pretty much intact.
Swipe up from the bottom and you’ll get access to quick settings for Airplane mode, WiFi, Bluetooth, display brightness and more.
If you tap the settings cog on this previous screen, you’ll be able to manage all sorts of settings, from gesture controls to icon layout. You can even apply different icon packs.
Swipe right across the home screen and you’ll see your most recent pictures, messages, frequently used applications, favorite contacts, reminders and even Microsoft documents you’ve recently opened.
Arrow launcher has a 4.4 star rating out of 5 stars in the Google Play Store. It’s a hidden gem worth checking out if you haven’t yet.