Microsoft's Arrow launcher personalizes the Android experience

— 7:39 AM on October 29, 2015

Microsoft has taken a shot at Android home-screen launchers from time to time, like the Cortana public beta. This time, the merry band of tinkerers at Microsoft Garage has churned out Arrow Launcher, an Android home-screen replacement that adapts itself based on how it's used. Arrow Launcher aims to put the stuff that's most important to a user front and center.

Rather than show users a hodgepodge of home screens with app shortcuts and widgets, Arrow Launcher breaks its pages into tasks. Frequent Apps groups the user's most commonly-accessed apps together on one screen. The Contacts page gives the most commonly-contacted people on the phone top billing. The Arrow Launcher team says these screens update themselves automatically based on usage. A full app drawer for all installed applications and a complete contact list are available, too. 

Arrow Launcher provides some other screens that Microsoft says can make getting things done easier than with traditional launchers. Quick Notes is dedicated to adding reminders and checking off completed tasks. The Recent page combines notifications with recent actions in chronological order.

Microsoft has included other personalization options, like third-party icon theme support, a customizable dock, and Bing-driven wallpapers. Arrow Launcher is purportedly focused on speed and battery life, so it shouldn't drain a phone's battery or cripple its performance. Arrow Launcher is available world-wide now, but only in English and both Simplified and Traditional Chinese. Interested Android users can download Arrow from Google Play

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