This is the first in a series of videos that will explore Microsoft apps on Android. Microsoft has numerous apps available on Android, taking a bold step towards infiltrating the world’s most popular mobile operating system. It’s not just about Windows Phone anymore. In this series, we’ll take a look at what’s available, for those of you who own an Android phone but still want to be a part of Microsoft’s ecosystem.
Cortana and Bing, two of Microsoft’s primary search apps, have made their way to Android devices. Microsoft’s development teams have put a lot of work into making the two apps take advantage of nearly everything the platform has to offer. The dedication to quality makes it feel like the company is living up to their word as a “Mobile First, Cloud First” company and it’s great to feel welcomed with open arms into Microsoft’s services even if you’re not running Windows.
Cortana is a voice driven assistant, in the vein of Siri and Google Now, that taps into the rest of the information stored in your Microsoft Account. If you’ve ever used Cortana on Windows Phone 8.1 or Windows 10, you won’t need much of an introduction to its Android sibling. The design differences between the two are minimal and functionality has only changed when required by Android. Some of the notable features of the Android app are the ability to let it completely replace Google Now’s shortcuts for easy access (The “Hey Cortana” command is currently disabled for users in the US unfortunately) and a partnership with Cyanogen Inc. to allow for deeper access in their own Android based OS, CyanogenOS.
Bing is Microsoft’s search engine and the Android app has a bunch of different ways to interact with it, whether from inside or outside the app. Along with the ability to take over Google Now’s shortcut on the home button (much like Cortana) or show a hovering icon that will show up on any screen, Bing also supports an innovative new feature called “Snapshots on Tap”. Much like Google’s “Now on Tap” in Android 6.0 Marshmallow, it will analyze whatever you’re looking at on your device’s screen and offer up contextual search results. This feature has compatibility back to Android 4.0, so it’s more than likely that your phone will support it. The app also has easy shortcuts for some of Bing’s other search functions, like image search and trends.
The two apps act as a base for a lot of Microsoft’s other services, tying in with the data you keep in your Outlook email account or OneDrive account for example, allowing of you to go all in with Microsoft’s services. Speaking of which, we have a whole series of videos planned to show off what Microsoft has been doing on Android, so leave any comments below if there’s anything you’d like to see.