Many believe that Windows mobile is now no more the choice of people and is completely dead. But Microsoft is not getting out of it’s phone business yet. With plenty of apps for iOS and Android out now and improving fast, you can recreate much of the feel of a Windows Phone on your existing handset, as long as you can live without those rotating tiles. So grab yourself an Android phone and get started with Microsoft launcher and other such awesome apps to make your Android turn into functioning Windows.
First Install the Microsoft Launcher
Microsoft has been making its own launcher called Arrow Launcher since 2015, but it’s recently been given a revamp and a rebrand to Microsoft Launcher. Download from Google Play all free
Android launchers, for the uninitiated, appear when you hit the Home button as they control the icons, the wallpaper, the home screen layouts, the app drawer and more. It’s not quite the same as installing a whole new version of Android, but it can feel like it.
Launch the launcher, and you get to choose some aspects of the interface, and get the option of having the Bing daily wallpaper show up on your phone too. You’ll then have to give the app some permissions so it can control everything on your phone, and sign in using your Microsoft account, if you want to easily sync all your Microsoft stuff to your newly modified Android phone.
As with Google’s stock launcher, you can swipe right from the home screen to get at a feed of weather, appointments, and news. Widgets show your frequently used apps, recent messages and photos, and favourite contacts, and all of this can be customised. You’ve also got handy widgets for jotting down notes and seeing documents on your device and in OneDrive.
With a Microsoft account or work/school account, you can access your calendar, documents, and recent activities in your personalized feed. You can even open photos, docs and webpages on your Windows PC to be productive across all your devices.
Features of Microsoft Launcher
- Pin contacts to your Home screen and place them anywhere on the Home screen, dock or in folders.
- Personalize the look and feel of your device by customizing your wallpaper, theme and accent colors, icon packs, gestures and more.
- See your most important information at a glance like news, calendar events, docs, contacts and more in your personalized feed. You can even set your feed as your default Home.
- Snap a pic on your phone and see it instantly on your Windows PC or continue editing an Office 365 document on your PC by linking your phone with your Windows PC.
- Search the web and your phone in one place. Search the web or your files, apps, docs, messages and web results using Microsoft Launcher’s universal search bar.
- With deep customization for gestures, you can double tap to lock your phone, swipe up for app drawer and more.
Elsewhere your home screen icons and app drawer get a visual overhaul, and the persistent Google search box at the top of the screen is replaced with a persistent Bing search box — you can actually switch this to Google or Yahoo if you prefer, or disable it altogether. Tap the Launcher Settings button on the home screen to customise pretty much every aspect of the launcher, from the direction apps scroll in, to which gestures are supported across the system.
Install Microsoft’s Apps
After changing the look and feel of your Android mobile to a distinctive Microsoft tinge — you then need to install all of the mobile apps Microsoft makes available for Android, which run to more than you might think.
Also if you’re wanting to have that Window assistant Cortana can replace Google Now, Google Assistant, Samsung Bixby or whatever flavour of smart AI buddy you’ve already got, and nowadays can actually be launched with a long press of the Home button — follow the instructions inside the app to set this up.
OneDrive, meanwhile, brings everything in your Microsoft cloud storage locker over to your Android phone. If you like, it will also automatically upload your photos and videos to the cloud as well and again this can be set up from inside the app when you install it.
Finally there’s Microsoft Edge for Android and you can sync everything over from the desktop version of Edge, including bookmarks and browsing history.
With Microsoft Launcher and Microsoft’s apps all installed, and Cortana ready to go at the press of a button or the shout of a voice command, your Android phone is suddenly looking a lot more like a Windows Phone. Finally paste a Nokia or Microsoft sticker on the back and it could almost be the real thing.
Since its launch, Windows 10 has made connecting to Android pretty straightforward, thanks in part to the versatility of Android and thanks in part to Microsoft making its big-name apps more cloud-focused and readily available on mobile. Using Android with a Windows PC is already simple no matter what your make or model of phone.
On any version of Windows 10, install Windows Phone Companion and you can swap files, photos, music, and more between your computer and your mobile and for the most part this is done by installing the apps as mentioned above. Also with the Fall Creators Update, Windows 10 is getting even friendlier with Android phones and iPhones, allowing you to continue your mobile web browsing on your desktop.
With the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, Microsoft is introducing some fun, new ways to get creative – from bringing mixed reality and 3D to the masses, to faster broadcasting for gaming, to turning photos and videos into real memories, and so much more. The Fall Creators Update can be experienced on a wide variety of Windows 10 PCs and on a range of Windows Mixed Reality headsets.
You can get the Fall Creators Update in a few different ways. If you already have a Windows 10 PC and have automatic updates enabled, the update will be delivered to you when it’s ready. If you are an advanced user and would like to get the update manually.
With Windows Mixed Reality, you can escape to the most immersive experiences – touring top travel destinations, getting inside the most exciting games, attending the most popular events, even travelling across time and space – right in your own home, with you at the center of everything.
If you’re wondering about the apps and experiences you can enjoy, visit Windows.com/mixedreality. One of those apps you can get started with now is Skype, which you can use with your mixed reality headset on to make or receive a Skype voice or video call. You can even receive Skype audio or video call when you’re playing a 2D game in mixed reality and continue to play it while you talk with your friends and family.
Amazing experiences don’t need to be expensive or complicated. All you need is a headset and a compatible Windows PC. To enhance your experience, try out the extras like headphones and advanced motion controllers. A variety of headsets and motion controllers are available from leading makers like Acer, Dell, HP, and Lenovo. Headset-motion controller bundles start as low as $399. Check here to see if your existing PC is compatible, or shop the exciting new models available.
Also web browsing can be switched to desktop. Tap any news story in the Upcoming panel in the Cortana app, then tap the Continue on PC button, which is down in the bottom right corner. Choose Continue now and as if by magic the same browser tab should appear in Microsoft Edge on your Windows 10 machine.
All of this is expected to get slicker over time. It might not exactly be a complete Windows Phone experience on your Android device, but you can obviously get very close to it on your Android device and have the wonderful Windows experience.