Beta testers of the Microsoft Launcher app for Android now have a new set of features to try out. Perhaps the most noteworthy new feature is the implementation of adaptive icons. This means that users can now select the shape they wish to be applied on all of their app icons on the home screen.
Adaptive icons were first introduced in Android Oreo, which allowed for multi-layered (background and foreground) icons which can be easily reshaped by the system. Developers are slowly implementing them into their apps, so many apps still use a single-layered image instead.
Interestingly, Microsoft Launcher chooses to reshape these legacy icons into the same shape as the adaptive icons are set, much like the way that Samsung and LG phones do in their stock launchers. The app doesn't do a good job at this right now, making each one look like an icon on top of another background.
Additionally, Microsoft has also re-enabled the hidden dock in the Launcher, so users who choose to have it enabled will be able to access the larger dock area by swiping up from the toggle at the bottom of the screen.
For those who aren't a fan of the Cortana implementation in Microsoft Launcher (or the assistant itself, for that matter), notification badges will now work with calling and messaging apps without the launcher having to be set as the default assistant. Of course, the company says that setting the app as the default assistant will increase the accuracy of the notification badges, should you prefer.
The app also features various other improvements, including faster task card syncing for Microsoft work/school accounts, as well as adjustments for accessing shortcuts while the home screen is locked. Microsoft encourages testers to provide feedback on these changes through the Google Play comments, uservoice, or email, so that issues can be sorted out before it's released to general users.
If you're not a tester, you can become one by heading to the Microsoft launcher beta test page. One signed up, you'll be able to download the beta version of the app from the Google Play Store. Feel free to leave your comments about the app down below.