In a somewhat surprising announcement, Microsoft made two announcements for the world of mobile today, though likely unpleasant announcements for those fans of Microsoft’s Windows 10 Mobile efforts, bringing the companies Edge browser cross platform and a new updated launcher for Android.
On a Windows Blog written by Microsoft’s CVP of Windows and Devices, Joe Belfiore, the company announced today a preview of both Microsoft Edge and the new Microsoft Launcher would be launching around the iOS and Android platforms. Whilst the reasons for doing such a thing may seem strange, at first, the true reason brings an interesting movement in to using Microsoft’s own Windows 10 operating system with your Smartphone, as, let’s be fair, Microsoft’s mobile efforts have pretty much bit the dust at this point.
Digging deeper in to the announcements bring us to Microsoft Edge for both iOS and Android. Whilst Microsoft Edge still holds the same mindshare from Internet Explorer, despite actually being much better, the reasons for it’s launch on mobile does make a lot more sense when you see what’s possible with the releases paired with Windows 10 on the Desktop.
Beginning today, iOS users can test the preview app via Apple TestFlight, and Android users can sign up to be one of the first to test the preview app which will be available soon. Go here to sign up to test the Microsoft Edge for iOS and Android preview apps.
At first, only iPhone users in the US will be able to get Microsoft Edge preview using Apple’s TestFlight service, at the moment, but naturally more Countries will be available shortly, as well as both iPad and Android support promised in the very near future.
A few more details about the preview: Initially Microsoft Edge for iOS and Android will launch only in US-English, but we’ll ramp to other countries/languages as we expand the preview. And some features—like roaming passwords and support for iPads/Android tablets—aren’t available at preview launch but will come in the future.
The biggest advantage of Microsoft Edge on iOS or Android naturally arises if you’re a Windows 10 user using the Microsoft Edge, especially if you’re a Windows 10S user (as that’s the only browser available on that platform), as the browsers will speak to each other and enjoy the same benefits seen on Windows 10 Mobile.
Using the Microsoft Edge browser on iOS or Android, users will be able to browse and pick up where they left off in either the mobile or desktop experience at any time, which if anything is incredibly convenient. The browser will be uncluttered, clean, full featured and likely will be surprisingly fast (for those who’ve never used Edge and only remember IE). The browser has the usuals built in, such as Tab browsing, Cloud tabs, Private browsing, Bookmarks with Hub View, Voice search, Reading Mode and a built in QR Scanner. And, for those wondering, yes, Bing will be the default Search engine, but Google and Yahoo! remain options in Settings. Passwords and Settings can also sync across your Windows 10 PC with your mobile version, adding that extra sense of convenience.
We actually can’t wait to check out Microsoft Edge on mobile, though for the moment it’s both US and iPhone only at the moment, but the folks at Windows Central have demoed the browser in action below. Should you be in the US with an iPhone and wish to give the browser a try, you can find it on the App Store right here!
Microsoft Edge for iOS running on iPhone 8 Plus
Video provided by Windows Central on YouTube.
But, Microsoft haven’t stopped there, as they’ve also announced a new Microsoft Launcher, though it’s important to mention if you were already using the Microsoft Garage project Arrow Launcher, you will be updated to this as in terms of the Play Store, it’s the same App updated with extra functionality. Just like with Microsoft Edge on mobile, the Microsoft Launcher will allow users who already use Windows 10, to get a much more cohesive experience, including the ability to view recent Photos, Documents and more by Continuing on PC.
Just like the Arrow Launcher, the Microsoft Launcher focused on productivity, keeping all your Calendar appointments, frequently used Apps and Services and more, all central to the experience. Microsoft have also added a level of familiarity to the experience with the Windows 10 UI in much of the experience, such as Themes and Customisation and Recents.
For those who’ve never tried the Arrow Launcher, you can at least give the new Microsoft Lacunher a try on Google Play right here!
What do you think of Microsoft’s mobile efforts on iOS and Android, we think it’s pretty much a given that this signifies the end of Windows 10 Mobile, now, not only are all the benefits of Windows 10 Mobile in the Microsoft ecosystem being brought to iOS and more so Android, they’re also available on newer and better supported hardware, and let’s not forget that ‘Microsoft Edition Galaxy S8’, likely the model like in the screenshot, and carried in Bill Gates pocket.