I am in love with Windows 10 Mobile, but sometimes I am forced to use an Android phone to see what Microsoft has for apps and app updates. I am more familiar with Android recently because I reluctantly made the switch from Android to Windows phone. Recently, my Lumia 950 battery died for some unknown reason, and while I was waiting for AT&T to send me a replacement Lumia 950, I picked up the Huawei Honor 5x.
Coming from Windows 10 Mobile back to Android was really hard for me. I was going on a trip to Florida, so I had AT&T send me my replacement Lumia 950 to me down there. While I was using the Honor 5x, I decided to see if I could recreate my Windows 10 Mobile experience on Android. Spoiler alert: you can't, but you can come close.
Here's a look at my favorite Windows 10 Mobile app launchers on Android.
SquareHome 2 is the highest-rated Windows 10 launcher in the Google Play Store. Like all of these Android launchers, SquareHome 2 emulates the Windows 10 Mobile Start menu that we all know and love. SquareHome 2 lets you can resize your live tiles, and displays notifications and number count in your live tiles just as if you were on Windows 10 Mobile.
SquareHome 2 claims to be the best app launcher with Windows 10 Mobile's metro UI. Personally, I don't agree with that claim, but Square Home 2 is easy to use, and has Android tablet support. Unlock all the features of SquareHome 2 for $3.99.
While not highly-rated as SquareHome 2, Launcher 10 gives you the most similar Windows 10 Mobile experience. While there are sometimes a bit of lag displaying the live tiles and some annoying bugs, Launcher 10 was a more comfortable Windows 10 Mobile experience for me.
Launcher 10 felt more like I was using my Lumia 950. Upon installation, Launcher 10 allows for a calendar, clock, photo gallery, and contacts live tiles and notifications. Additional live tiles are available through in-app purchases. Launcher 10 latest update brought Android 7.0 Nougat compatibility.
By swiping right, Launcher 10 shows recently added apps, and the ability to search apps alphabetically, or using the search bar for easy app access. You can also group apps together just like in Windows 10 Mobile. The ability to resize your live tiles, set tile transparency, and even landscape mode is available.
The app developer, Nick Fisher, promises that a new Launcher 10 version is coming to help fix the annoying bugs that plague the app launcher:
Lightning fast new version built from the ground up! Focusing on performance and stability, the update will vastly improve the speed and functionality of Launcher 10 as well as fixing most of the bugs. There is no scheduled release date yet, but it is coming.
The only downside to this Android app launcher is that it contains ads, and but the ads can be removed via in-app purchases. The downside is the in-app purchases don't come cheap. The in-app purchases for additional features range in price from $3.49-$5.99 per feature.
WP Style Launcher 10
WP Style Launcher 10 boasts the most features of any Windows 10 Mobile-themed Android app launcher. WP Style Launcher 10 is lightweight at only 3 MB and is the first Windows 10 Mobile Android app launcher with voice command support.
WP Style Launcher 10 has functioning live tiles with notifications, such as missed calls, SMS text alerts, calendar, weather, time, email, and more. The app also has the ability to set the transparency level for tiles.
WP Style Launcher 10 Free has ads, but for $0.99 more, you can upgrade to the Pro version to get rid of the ads.
While Arrow Launcher is not visually similar to any of the aforementioned Windows 1o Launchers, the app is designed by Microsoft for Android. Arrow Launcher is a light and efficient Android launcher that integrates many Microsoft services (Office, Skype, etc.) on Android to provide an almost seamless experience.
Arrow Launcher provides users with a sleek Android launcher UI that brings a unique compatibility for heavy Microsoft app users. The newest Arrow Launcher update boasts a 10% increase in speed, using 15% less battery and 20% less memory. Arrow Launcher's key features include:
- Apps: The ultimate in customization. Arrange apps to your heart's content, or have your apps ranked based on daily usage.
- Recent activity: Quickly get back to your recent activity: phone calls, text messages, photos, file downloads, and app installs. Every important action is just a tap away.
- People: No more hunting around your phone contact list. Easily find and contact the people who matter the most.
- Reminders: Never forget anything again. With Wunderlist integration, access your reminders everywhere on your PC, on the Web, and on your phone.
- Documents: Access your most important Office documents on the cloud, and easily share them with friends.
So if you are looking for a Microsoft alternative to the Android launchers out there, give Arrow Launcher a try.
With the recent news that there will be the Samsung S8 "Microsoft" Edition for sale in Microsoft Stores, as well as Microsoft's support of Samsung's Continuum-like Dex experience, the future of Windows 10 Mobile is starting to look bleak. Now that my Lumia 950 is back in working order, I will stick with Windows 10 Mobile until its last breath.Further reading: Android, Lumia 950, Microsoft, Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile