Microsoft Launcher 6 Heads to Beta

Posted on June 16, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Microsoft Surface, Mobile with 8 Comments

It looks like the next-generation version of Microsoft Launcher that Microsoft previewed in January is finally heading to Beta as version 6.

News of this milestone comes via Dr. Windows. I discovered that link via Neowin.

As a backgrounder, Microsoft split development of the Microsoft Launcher, its Android launcher, into two tracks back in January, with the Microsoft Launcher Preview being completely rebuilt from scratch and providing an early peek at the launcher we’ll probably get with Surface Duo.

Since then, it’s made minor updates to the shipping version of Microsoft Launcher, which is version 5.x, and has improved the Preview version to add back features from 5.x. And now it looks like the Preview version will be branded as version 6.

I’m curious to see the latest version, but it’s unclear if there are any major changes. Neowin, for example, only notes that many of the icons have been updated.

To get the Microsoft Launcher 6 Beta, you have to enroll in the Beta. To do so, install Microsoft Launcher 5.x; you’ll find an option to join the Beta in the app.

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Comments (9)

9 responses to “Microsoft Launcher 6 Heads to Beta”

  1. christian.hvid

    I'm not sure if you read too fast or if you have another source, but the Neowin article talks about " icons all around", not that "all icons are round". :)

  2. dftf

    Can't say personally I see any real reason to use it.

    Clearly there was a market for people who liked Windows Phone because of the tile-based UI, and this launcher doesn't in any-way try to replicate that. The home-screen looks very-similar to the Pixel launcher, with the search-bar at the bottom. Timeline probably won't be used by that many people. And in-terms of customisation, there are other Launcher apps on the market that offer way-more you can alter. And all of the Microsoft apps you get with it can all just be installed on any recent Android OS phone manually.

    If they had released a launcher that replicated the old Windows Phone 10 UI I could see a market for that, as a way of appeasing their old fans, but this just comes-over as a "me-too" effort.

    I guess for people who really love Bing and want a search bar for it on their home-screen then this is the launcher for them, but for everyone else ...?

    • ghostrider

      In reply to dftf:

      Totally agree. I've always thought this launcher didn't have much point - unless you're desperate to Microsoft-ify your Android phone, but as most people who are still holding onto their WinMobile devices keep bleating on about that tiled UI as the reason, why MS didn't replicate that on this launcher I don't know why. It's just another Android launcher, and there are plenty of those already.

      • ponsaelius

        In reply to ghostrider:

        I use the launcher. It had a few good points. I used to like the Bing picture of the day instead of static wallpaper, integration with my calendar, tasks etc. Bing search is fine. People argue it isn't as good as Google but the benefit is that at least part of my life isn't observed by Google. While Cortana was a thing it had Cortana on the launcher. It's gone now but I used it.

        Over time the launcher has added incremental improvements and although it isn't the Windowsphone I really liked it is a good launcher and, if you are in the Microsoft ecosystem, links it all together.

    • Cosmocronos

      In reply to dftf:
      In my personal experience the launcher that best replicate WP UI is Launcher 10, which I currently use.
      MS launcher, both the 5 and the 6 version remind me of the alternative main screen, called Itanium if I remember correctly, we had in WM 6.XX .

  3. rickeveleigh

    Took me a while (and a google) to find the beta setting.

    Press and hold on the home screen to get to Launcher Settings.

    Choose Help and feedback, then there's a Join the beta community.

  4. kenosando

    I received the new beta version overnight, and found it is definitely not as polished as the mainline version.

    1. Opening folders on the home screen seems to jitter a bit with the transition.
    2. Folders with more than 16 items are broken in to pages
    3. Full screen folders show even less icons (9) resulting in a very small window for content

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