Microsoft’s pet project Next Lock Screen recently received a rather impressive update through the Google Play Store. Next Lock Screen, developed by Microsoft employees during their own free time and promoted by the company through its Microsoft’s Garage development initiative, has gone on to become a highlighted app within the Android ecosystem.
Awarded the distinction of “Best lock screen app for Android” by AndroidPIT during its Best Android apps of 2016 awards, Next Lock Screen was also recently imbued with a feature-packed update. Next Lock Screen users can now look forward to receiving:
– Fingerprint Unlock (for devices with fingerprint scanner). While Next is on screen, use your fingerprint scanner to bypass the Next screen lock.
– Smart Contacts. Next learns and displays contacts whom you’ve called or texted.
– Smart Lock. Set rules for whether a passcode is needed when you’re at Home or Work.
– Location-based wallpapers are back. Different wallpapers for Auto/Home/Work.
– Bug fixes.
The recent update works alongside current Next Lock Screen features such as system-wide notifications, easy access to contact info, built-in app launcher, and music player controls, to name a few.
Interestingly enough, developers working on a similar prototype for Windows Phone lock screens have become alarmingly silent on production after pulling the app from the Windows Store. Without an official reason as to the app’s disappearance, speculation of Windows Phone 8.1 API and development restrictions seem like the most likely culprits. Here’s hoping for a Windows 10 Mobile return of the Next Lock Screen app, or that Microsoft is harnessing the work of the Android development team to imbue its latest mobile effort with similar functionality.