Microsoft Launcher 5.0 adds Feed UI & Timeline, Windows 10 to support Android app mirroring
At the Surface hardware event yesterday, Microsoft announced a new update to the Microsoft Launcher for Android. The update is a big update that brings a new Your Feed page and support for the Windows Timeline feature. The Your Feed page is split into three tabs: Glance, News, and Timeline.
The Microsoft Launcher is different in style and functionality from traditional third-party Android launchers (including the likes of Lawnchair, Nova Launcher, and Rootless Pixel Launcher). The Your Feed page is the functional equivalent of the Google Feed, and users can entirely disable it. They can also opt to use Bing’s daily wallpapers instead of their phone’s default wallpaper.
Earlier this year, Microsoft stated that Timeline support would arrive in the Microsoft Launcher. Timeline is a feature that debuted in the Windows 10 April 2018 update. It lives inside the Task View and helps the user keep track of their usage activities such as opening files, browsing the web, and more. (It can also be disabled completely to get back the old Task View.)
Now, Timeline is available in the Microsoft Launcher for beta testing. When users are signed into the same Microsoft Account on their PC and phone, their Timeline activity will sync across devices like it does across PCs. If, for example, users use Edge as their web browser on the PC, the activity of Edge will show up in their Launcher’s timeline, and vice versa. This is also compatible with Microsoft Office; if users have the Office apps installed on their phone, they can jump directly into documents from the Timeline.
The News Tab extends the old news widget into its own area. Microsoft does allow users to customize the tab with their news interests, and users can untick all news interests to depopulate the news tab. The Glance tab carries forward where the old Feed page left off, and has a cleaner UI. Users can add custom widgets to it. The top of the Feed page shows the weather and calendar events.
Microsoft Launcher 5.0 is now rolling out for beta users. Users can download the APK from APKMirror. It will likely roll out as a stable version in the coming weeks. Timeline support for iPhones is restricted to the Microsoft Edge app, and it will show up within the Edge app as beta in the next month.
Separately, Microsoft announced a new feature for Windows 10 today that will let Android phone users view and use any app on their device from a Windows desktop. This feature is part of the Windows 10 October Update. Microsoft refers to it as app mirroring, and it’s a part of the Your Phone app, which was launched in May this year. It works best with Android for now, as iPhone users are restricted to having the ability to transfer web pages from an iPhone to a Windows 10 desktop.
The Your Phone app is Microsoft’s solution to integrate Windows 10 better with mobile operating systems. It comes after Microsoft’s announcement last year that Windows 10 Mobile would no longer receive feature updates, essentially killing it.
For now, the app mirroring feature is available in the mirroring of the stock Android messaging and photos apps and the mirroring of web pages using Microsoft Edge on iPhone. A more full-featured Android app support will be coming at a later date.