Microsoft Launcher 6 is Now Available

Posted on July 15, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Mobile with 24 Comments

Microsoft has released a major new version of its Launcher for Android that supports Dark mode, landscape orientation, and much more. The release was hinted at by a recent deprecation of the preview version of the Launcher, and is thought to include some UX that will appear soon in the Surface Duo as well.

There’s no official announcement, but this horribly-written Microsoft post notes that the Launcher 6 is based on a new codebase that enables some of its new features, including a new personalized news feed, landscape orientation support, customizable application icons, Bing-based wallpaper, and Dark Theme support. It also includes performance improvements “like speed to load, low memory utilization, battery optimization[,] and fluent animations.” I told you it was horribly written. That doesn’t even make sense.

There’s also a new app icon. I know, amazing.

Microsoft Launcher requires Android 7.0 or higher, but you may have issues with Android 10 navigation gestures on some phone models, the firm notes.

You can download Microsoft Launcher 6 from the Google Play Store.

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Comments (27)

27 responses to “Microsoft Launcher 6 is Now Available”

  1. Avatar

    red.radar

    Side note: I would love Microsoft to release an alternative store to the play store. This launcher update and an alternative to google play would be interesting. Give you an android alternative that was nearly google free that you could configure on just about any device.



  2. Avatar

    alexaaron

    hi why i cannot install them on my samsung galaxy tab s6 ?

  3. Avatar

    brandonmills

    Nothing but crashes on my Pixel 4 XL. Seems half baked.

  4. Avatar

    dftf

    I still fail to understand why, if they were going to bother to create their own launcher, not make it look-like the Windows Phone UI, with Tiles?


    Unless you are really integrated into Microsoft's services, what does this "me-too" effort do any-better than market-leaders like Nova Launcher?

  5. Avatar

    zbecka

    Launcher 6.x looks slick but I do not understand why I would want to use it. I do have a bias to the Windows phone and the "actionable" interface and Launcher doesn't seem to help get me towards simplifying my mobile interactions. I find the Niagara launcher does a better job of simplifying my life with a simple icon list and notifications on those icons that offer actions and comes closest to replicating my windows phone simplicity.

    • Avatar

      boots

      In reply to zbecka:

      I have just installed Niagara launcher to give it a try. It does look simple, but the notifications only work for Email apps, not for Phone, Messages and Calendar. Niagara only fits the time, date and weather widgets, Google button and 8 and a half icons on the home screen. So I find that I need to scroll around more to find things.

      I normally use Nova launcher. With Nova I can fit the time, date and weather widgets, Calendar event and Gmail Inbox widgets, Google search box and 12 icons all on the one home screen. So I'm less likely to need to scroll to another screen. Nova's icon notification badges are almost as good as Niagara's notifications anyway, so I'm not really gaining anything by using Niagara.

      I understand the idea of Windows Phone's tiles. But my problem with them was that I would need to make them as large as possible for them to be useful. That meant only 3 and a half apps would fit on the home screen, without the need to scroll down. The large tiles would only show, for example, the first few words of my newest email. So it was likely I would need to open the app anyway.


    • Avatar

      robincapper

      In reply to zbecka:

       Niagara launcher is awesome, subscribed & deleted Microsoft Launcher, thanks for sharing

    • Avatar

      robincapper

      In reply to zbecka:

      With you, find Microsoft Launcher a complicated mess.

      Still using an old Z Launcher (Nokia) than surfaces apps based on use or has near instant list/search for others. No shuffling icons, no clutter. There is a smart device that knows what I use, why do I have to manage home screen icons?

      Why cant Microsoft do something like this with the calendar etc integration of the current launcher?

      Will check out Niagara launcher, looks very similar to Z

  6. Avatar

    blue77star

    Microsoft should make their own Android Phone with removed Google stuff.

      • Avatar

        dftf

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        Why not?


        Lots of enterprise customers use Office365 and having a phone come with all the essential apps pre-installed, such as Outlook, OneDrive, Skype for Business (or Teams, eventually), Company Portal (formerly InTune), Excel, Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, Sway, Yammer, etc., could be nice-to-have.


        And given many corporate/enterprise customers block access to the Play Store and distribute updates via their chosen MDM solution (such as InTune or Airwatch), then Microsoft could offer a custom-storefront, similar to what "Software Center" does for Windows via SCCM.


        Sure, in-terms-of general-public there is no reason to, but for business there could be.

  7. Avatar

    rmlounsbury

    I got the update to the preview version to 6.2.* and it looks like preview version is slightly higher on rev numbers than the regular version but both are at least 6.2.*.


    On the surface there doesn't seem to be a lot to see. Seems akin to the recent updates to the Windows 10 insiders builds with a Start Menu refresh. Almost actually makes sense that W10 insider got a Start menu refresh a long with a rev of Microsoft Launcher.

  8. Avatar

    dan1986ist

    Has anyone with Version 5.11 gotten Version 6 of Microsoft Launcher as I am not seeing it yet on my Acer tablet running Android 7.0?

  9. Avatar

    jimchamplin

    That looks really nice!

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