Back in January, Microsoft debuted Microsoft Launcher Preview, a new testing base for its popular Android launcher. The Preview arrived with Microsoft Launcher 6.0 on board, which was built on an entirely new codebase. That newest version of the launcher is now reaching a wider audience.
Because Microsoft Launcher 6.0 was a ground-up build, it lacked some features of the full app in Microsoft Launcher Preview. Now the new version is coming to users of the Beta app. It seems Microsoft will maintain three Launcher apps on Android signaling three levels of development (Preview, bets, and full release).
According to Dr. Windows, the beta version is a couple of builds behind the preview version. That makes sense for the three-tiered approach. Think of this system as an Insider Program for Microsoft Launcher. The Preview app is like the Fast Ring and the Beta app the Slow Ring.
So, what Microsoft Launcher 6.0 are we getting? Well, there are some visual updates considering and a completely new icon package. Version 6.0 is mostly at feature parity with the stable version, meaning the new codebase is almost up to speed.
For example, hidden apps support and the ability to backup and restore are available. Still, some features remain unavailable, such as landscape mode. We assume this will be added before version 6.0 makes its way to full release. Certainly, we know landscape mode has already been tested on the Preview application.
Microsoft Launcher has become one of the company's best performing services on mobile. The Android launcher is hugely popular and has hundreds of millions of installs. Much of the success has been down to Microsoft's consistent updates that have allowed the launcher to be feature rich.