Microsoft is putting its tokens on Android (and iOS) with the upcoming release of its Edge browser , and a new version of the Microsoft Launcher . The Redmond firm now has all parts to offer manufacturers a complete suite of applications that communicate with its Windows PCs.
Focus on the post-Windows Phone
It was still remembered last week, Microsoft and Windows Phone , despite all the meager hopes that could still arouse the system, it is dead. One more nail was also planted in the coffin: HP announced the abandonment of its smartphone Elite X3, one of the last Windows 10 Mobile terminals still for sale for professionals, responding to The Register with a beautiful euphemism : ” Microsoft, like all companies, has made a change in strategy, and as a result they are less focused on what they thought was concentrated today .”
Continuing to support and develop the X3 has ” no sense without the support of Microsoft “. The strategy spoken by HP Nick Lazaridis’ EMEA director, who ironically has the same surname as former BlackBerry co-chair, became even clearer yesterday with two announcements. A new version of the Arrow home screen, now named Microsoft Launcher, is unveiled, and especially the arrival of Microsoft Edge, the Windows 10 browser, on iOS and Android.
Android first, iOS first?
When he took office, Satya Nadella set new goals: ” Cloud first, mobile first “. Breaking with the tradition of privileging Windows at all costs, the new direction of Microsoft led the Redmond firm to open up considerably, making its presence on competing OS of all its services and applications a priority. A presence today very extensive, and often of quality, and although some features pass the key under the door, like Groove Music , one can imagine that it is to focus more on others.
Microsoft Launcher and Edge: the latest puzzle pieces
Microsoft still lacked a web browser allowing it a presence on Android and iOS. Not easy to integrate with those of Google or Apple to offer the same kind of fluid experience between the desktop and the mobile. It’s obviously simpler when you master both, but it’s no longer Microsoft’s. The next version of Windows should also offer integrations, in the reverse direction, with Safari and Chrome, but since you’re never better served than by yourself, Microsoft would do well to push its own browser.
The Microsoft Launcher is not new: Arrow Launcher is already two years old. The new version benefits from the arrival of Edge and the forthcoming release of the Fall Creators Update of Windows 10, to also incorporate a function “Continue on PC”, allowing to send, in the way of Handoff on iOS, a document , a web page or a photo to the PC to take back the contents where it was left, in order to have a larger screen and the comfort of a keyboard and a mouse. It should be noted in passing that this was the kind of problem that the function Continuum of Windows 10 Mobile, and its dock, were supposed to solve, proof that here again things change.
Currently, failing to be able to test Edge on Android, and in the absence of the Fall Creators Update, Microsoft Launcher does not differ greatly from previous versions of Arrow Launcher, except for a small cosmetic overhaul. It is always a pretty elegant home screen, without the flexibility of a Nova Launcher or Action Launcher. We will wait for their availability – Edge will initially see the day on iOS – to get a more precise idea of the combo.
Towards Microsoft Edition smartphones?
A launcher, a browser, applications … say, it would not look like the elements that would allow Microsoft to release an Android smartphone? We do not frankly see the company renew the experience of Nokia X and XL . Yes, I remind you of painful memories.
On the other hand, if we think back to the Samsung Galaxy S8 Microsoft Edition , we can see future partnerships appear even more advanced. The special edition, available only in Microsoft stores in the United States, included a suite of Microsoft applications, to which the Microsoft Launcher and Edge could now be added. New alliances that would come at the right time, while Bing lost Siri’s favors for web searches in iOS 11.
However, users have to adopt Edge, and it will be necessary for Microsoft to deploy strong arguments to achieve its ends. Unlocking browsers as well integrated in their environment as Safari and Google Chrome will not be easy. Chrome, in particular, is already benefiting from its dominant position on Windows, and a perfect synchronization of data between mobile and PC, and it is hard to see for the moment how Microsoft will be able to encourage users to go the opposite way.