Microsoft Previews Next Major Version of Launcher

Posted on January 13, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Android with 41 Comments

A Microsoft Launcher Preview is now available in the Google Play Store, offering users an early peek at future changes to Microsoft’s Android home screen replacement.

“Be among the first to help us test brand-new early-stage features as we build an improved version of Microsoft Launcher,” the app listing reads. “The goal of this program is to gain your valuable feedback to improve quality, performance and shape the overall user experience.”

According to Microsoft, the Launcher Preview has been completely rewritten in order to make new features like Dark Mode and Landscape Mode possible. It also provides “numerous performance improvements (speed to load, low memory utilization, battery optimization, and fluent animation).” That said, this early version of the product isn’t complete, and it offers only a subset of the features available in the shipping version of Microsoft Launcher.

New features include:

A new look. You can personalize your apps with custom icon packs, and use adaptive icons to give your phone a consistent look and feel. As before, you can use Bing daily images as your wallpaper or use your own photos.

Dark Theme. This feature is compatible with Android’s Dark Mode settings.

Landscape mode. Microsoft Launcher now supports horizontal orientation when the phone is rotated.

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