Microsoft Launcher’s 6.0 preview launched yesterday, and it appears to make several adjustments to suit the upcoming Surface Duo. The dev team says its rebuilt the launcher on a new codebase which has enabled several important features.
The most notable one for the Dual-screen Duo is a landscape mode. You can now use Microsoft’s Android experience in practically any orientation, the dock simply moving to the end of the screen as everything rotates.
It also adds a full-fledged dark mode, turning the search bar, news, timeline, settings, and everything else true AMOLED black. This should save your eyes in the dark, while new icons bring it closer to the modern design language.
Microsoft also says the launcher features better memory performance, new widgets, and improved activities, search UI, apps list, and dock. It’s probably one of the biggest overhauls to the launcher yet, and ensures Duo users will have a pleasant, Windows-like experience despite the differing OS.
Unlike other previews, this one is delivered as a separate app, rather than an opt-in. That may be because all of the features of the main app aren’t there yet. My experience has been next to flawless so far, but Microsoft also warns that there could be a lot of bugs.
“This is an Alpha version of the Microsoft Launcher so as such some features may not work properly, or the experience may be unstable,” said the dev team. “Additionally, this version only contains a subset of the standard features from the main app.”
You can grab the preview version today from the Play Store.