Last month, Microsoft released Microsoft Launcher 6 in preview for users of the beta app. This version has spent a few months on Microsoft Launcher Preview, a new testing base for its popular Android launcher. This week, Microsoft says version 6 of its popular Android launcher is reaching all users.
You may remember Microsoft Launcher 6 which was built on an entirely new codebase. That explains why it spent months in public testing. As a from-scratch rebuild, this version lacked some features form the full Launcher experience.
Microsoft has used the long preview time to bring version 6 up to speed in terms of features. It also seems Microsoft will maintain three Launcher apps on Android signaling three levels of development (Preview, bets, and full release).
Preview is the first step of the process. Beta is a couple of builds behind the preview version and then there is the full release. 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.
Microsoft officially unveiled the wider availability of Launcher 6 in a Windows Blog post for the latest Windows 10 Insider release. Here are some of the new features arriving in the Microsoft Launcher:
- “Personalized news: Stay in the know. The personalized news feed updates throughout the day with top trending stories, making it easy to stay on top of whatever's relevant to you.
- Landscape mode: Microsoft Launcher supports vertical and horizontal orientations to enhance your viewing preference.
- Customizable icons: Give your phone a consistent look and feel with custom icon packs and adaptive icons.
- Beautiful wallpapers: Enjoy a fresh new wallpaper from Bing every day or choose your own photos.
- Dark theme: Reduce eye strain when using your phone at night or in low light environments. This feature is compatible with Android's default dark mode settings.
- Improved performance: Microsoft Launcher now loads faster, uses less memory, is more battery efficient, and offers fluent animations.”
If you already have Microsoft Launcher, you can install the update from your Android device. If not, the app is available from the Google Play Store here.