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Microsoft's Arrow Launcher for Android gets tablet support in another big update

Arrow Launcher, an experimental Android launcher from Microsoft's Garage division, has picked up another big update. The biggest feature coming along in this update is tablet support, but there are a number of other little handy additions like more backup and restore options, a horizontal layout option for the apps page, and more wallpapers from Bing.

Here's a full look at what's new in Arrow Launcher version 3.1:

  • Tablet support: a very popular request since Arrow's first release -- and now it's here!
  • Horizontal layout option for the "all apps" page!
  • More beautiful Bing wallpapers.
  • Backup & restore: more backup options available.
  • Ability to hide headers.
  • Ability to configure the utility page: show/hide, choose card color (transparent or solid white)
  • Carousel scrolling mode.

This follows up from a similarly large update that hit the launcher in late February, which brought big performance gains and a new utility page for pinning your most commonly used functions. To check out all of what's new in this latest update, you can grab Arrow Launcher version 3.1 from Google Play now.

Download Arrow Launcher from Google Play (opens in new tab)

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

96 Comments
  • Microsoft is gradually pushing us to Android but I refuse to go.
  • Exactly how I feel. Arrow is nice but Android is not my cup of tea. Been on iOS and Android flagship devices. I don't like the UI/UX of either.
  • They're not pushing -- it's the moronic consumer market that is doing the pushing. Like George Carlin once said, "Think of how stupid the average person is and then realize half of all people are even dumber than that!" and you will understand why we have Android.
  • Oh My God ! 😁😁 Allow me to save that comment pal ! Hands down the best comment I have heard about Crapdroid in my life 😁😁
  • "i dislike it, therefore the people using it are stupid"
  • Honeslty, most people do not even understand what the OS is or what it can do, they just see Apps and that is all they care.  I have used Android, IOS and Windows phone.  I cannot stand how confusing it is to get to settings in IOS, android is all over the place with the system settings.  I can never remeber where to go for settings that are burried beyond the first settings page.  Windows hands down is the best organised and logical IMO.  But apps is what hurts the platform and always will until there is parity.
  • I have an idol 4s and an honor 8 and windows phone's setting are just as dumb.
  • This! I have to use the search button every time I go to the settings
  • Correct!
  • Sometimes the inferior option wins.  Betamax vs. VHS is a well-known example.
  • Same as Blu-Ray VS HDDVD
  • Not really, theyre just making sure that people on other platforms continue having easy access to their services (the parts of Microsoft that actually generate Revenue)
  • This. That is exactly the point. It doesn't matter if you have a Windows phone or Surface Book. As long as they can get you to opt into their services, you are a part of what they want.
  • Where are the profits? Launcer is free.  Office apps can be put on Android...for free.   An article on another site said that the success of revenue generating services on Android was "mixed" at best.  Until you see conversion rates of those free users subscribing to services like O365, Groove,etc., I'm not calling this a sound strategy.  It's like begging to popular kids to like them, but it's not happening. 
  • "It's like begging to popular kids to like them, but it's not happening."
    Not really, its like asking all of the rich corporations that use your services to continue doing so. The consumer market has never been the money making side of Microsoft, not even close. They needed to give their business customers easy access to all of their services. Microsoft has always been funded by their corporate business.
  • Stating the dream doesn't mean it is becoming a reality.  Where are the conversion rates. Also, this idea of consumer and business being mutually exclusive is part of Microsoft's dinosaur problem.  People use the same devices at work as they do after work.  Companies aren't buying these devices for people like they used to, so the pitch to the CTO/CIO/CFO types is lost on the masses.   I'd say Microsoft has done very well in the "consumer" market. I've had a Windows PC in my home forever.  People buy XBox and that division is very profitable, as another example.  The world is a bit more complex than the "MS is focused on business" mantra that people like to copy/paste in comments.
  • Wow, you seem to be way out of your depth here or willfully ignorant...
    "People use the same devices at work as they do after work."
    Which is exactly why they have made the O365 suite widely available cross platform. I work for a Fortune 500 and they are shifting everyone from Exchange to )365 as we speak, thats nearly 100,000 new subscribers at just one company, and we arent the only ones on the list doing so.  
    "I'd say Microsoft has done very well in the "consumer" market. I've had a Windows PC in my home forever.  People buy XBox and that division is very profitable, as another example."
    This is very true until you compare it to the rest of their business, which massively dwarfs it and is headed further and further apart.
    "The world is a bit more complex than the "MS is focused on business" mantra that people like to copy/paste in comments."
    Except that is not what i said, I said they get the majority of their annual revenue from enterprise. They have always been focused on Consumers, its just a much less lucrative market for them, and always will be. 
  • MSFT fastest growing division is the cloud. Which I could argue is for both Business and Consumer.
  • I looooove when someone starts out on their high horse with an insult. Brilliant. /s Typically, I would just ignore someone who starts out like that, but (sigh) I'll indulge...cuz I'm so darn ignant and sho do hope you can learn me something useful, sir.  So your company is switching from Exchange to O365. Great. That's awesome.  Do you plan to make a new phone purchasing decision based on this corporate switch?   XBox is an example of a consumer ONLY product.  It was next to the point that Windows and Office and keyboards and mice and...all exist in the consumer home market.  It is short-sighted to assume that Microsoft's success is exclusively the product of enterprise sales. But hey...I'm just a dumb guy as evidenced by the fact that I see things differently than the almight YOU.
  • "But hey...I'm just a dumb guy"
    Ignorant isnt an insult, and its not even the same thing as 'dumb'... but im not going to deny this comment is the only thing youve said that i agree with. 
    "XBox is an example of a consumer ONLY product.  It was next to the point that Windows and Office and keyboards and mice and...all exist in the consumer home market.  It is short-sighted to assume that Microsoft's success is exclusively the product of enterprise sales."
    Sure, if you completely ignore that the OG Xbox operated at a loss and was completely propped up by their Enterprise business. Which is where they get the vast majority of their revenue... This isnt even an opinion, its documented in their financial reports, go look at them. Im tired of you thinking that your opinion will somehow trump actual facts, go educate yourself and cure the ignorance. 
  • Your lack of analyitical skills is amazing while you hurl insults.  Saying someone is "ignorant" as a lead-in to countering a perspective is actually an insult.  You are saying that one lacks the knowledge, information or education to be involved in a conversation with you, thus elevating yourself to bloated status.  I'm sure that works with some people.  The "dumb" comment was separated both in proximity and context...with a bit of extrapolation on my part. You confirmed it as much, with your agreement.   I don't completely ignore that at all.  One of the advantages of scale for a large organization is that they can withstand losses while building up an ambitious project like XBox.   I'm tired of your superior attitude and positition your perspective as fact. I'd suggest that you take your own advice and lead more with logic than your superiority complex.  For the record, your "bing tired" isn't a compelling point. I don't care.
  • Facts > Opinions. Deal with it sunshine, or dont and continue to be ignorant, idc youre inconsequential and militantly uninformed. Congrats
  • You smugly stating something doesn't make it a thing. Present a fact, then.  What you've done is say "go fetch" to something that I've not disputed.  Your attempts at shaming someone down to your level aren't going to work with me.  Your extrapolations of facts used in a way to support your opinions do not make your opinion a fact.  These are the tactics of con men and sociopathers.  Congrats backatcha. 
  • With respect to Office I think you can argue that the free apps on mobile help to sell the paid Office service. With the launcher and a lot of other Garage apps I don't know if there's any value unless it packages Cortana/Bing/Skype/OneDrive services somehow.
  • There's no data to suggest that Office scenario is converting to O365 sales, though I see the appeal of thinking it might. 
  • Office 365 subscriptions are up over 50% a year.
  • As a result of free apps on iDroid? I entered the subscription paradigm based on a cheap tablet purchase and then got in on a discounted renewal. My guess is that O365 subscription growth is coming from those who had always made outright Office software purchases.
  • Its not just about enticing people on iOS or Android to "try office 365", its also about providing continuity and fending off Google's G-suite. G-suite and Google office applications are the only legitimate threat Microsoft has seen in the productivity space in a long time. If Google gives away Google cloud office apps for free and Microsoft either doesnt support Android / iOS or only offers paid apps to those platforms, Microsoft WILL lose Office revenue. 99% of their current customers are not on Windows Mobile and they need to be where their customers are or risk losing them.
     
  • Do you know what a launcher is in Android? It is just a different interface for the home screen to get features the default launcher may not provide. It's nothing special.
  • How there are no widgets for news or money news.  I see no pushing at all.  
  • I honestly predict that Microsoft is going to unveil their own Android phones, with all Google-centric components replaced with Microsoft-related ones. Much like we saw with the fire devices.
  • why would they do that? the majority of the android manufacturers have very thin profit margins, even samsung, and this is a reality. why would they invest so much money and effort when they already have their own os? just to sell phones? i would rather have none than an MS phone with android.
  • So if Microsoft kills Windows Mobile you will no longer carry a phone?  :p
  • Obviously MS will kill WM or at least demoted WM to low end device. W10 on ARM or W10Cloud will take WM position maybe.
  • Eh, don't know that, and wouldn't want that. It has the potential to be a great platform. I just can also envision them releasing their own Android version.
  • Because Microsoft is no longer a software company. It is a services company. When a user sets up an Android device, they are setting it up with Google services, and Android is very popular so this happens a lot. If Microsoft can build an Android device that people want, and make it built upon Microsoft services instead, then they have the ability to turn it into a profit.
  • "Because Microsoft is no longer a software company. It is a services company. " I beg to differ.  What would you call Windows 10, Office, IE,  Visual Studio, etc?  While it's true that Microsoft is now offering services, they are still a software company.
  • Office is definitely a service. They even give away free Office apps to sell the subscription service. Windows and IE (Edge) is a way to drive Cortana/Bing search ads. Visual Studio is meant to create UWP apps for a store that generates revenue. In almost all cases the software exists to sell the service like Microsoft Groove. It's true they develop software, but for the purpose of selling services. Microsoft even said regarding Xbox they don't care how many devices they're selling, they care how many Xbox Live subscribers they have for the quarter. It's true Microsoft makes software, but their business model is selling services.
  • Everything you listed is a service...
  • Um Microsoft is 100% still a software company, dont kid yourself
  • That's a pretty crazy strategy when you consider how much effort Microsoft put into UWP, one OS, one app store, Edge and now Windows 10 on ARM. The Amazon Fire phone is basically what you're describing and it was a huge failure. How about just letting people publish Android emulators/app stores inside of the Windows app store and taking 25% of whatever they sell.
  • Its not a crazy strategy, its an understandible last ditch effort if W10 ARM doesn't pan out. UWP isn't wasted if Microsoft goes this route. Even without mobile, UWP will only increase in value over time as Windows 10 continues to gain share. In the next decade, with 100% certainty, Office and other major desktop apps will switch to UWP even if only for the security benefits (there will still be legacy win32 support, sure). Also keep in mind that Amazon Fire Phone failed because it lacked the Google Play store. I don't want to see Microsoft give up on its own mobile OS, they really do have the best design language and app vision, but you have to survive. Personally, i think partnering with OEM's to bundle MS services onto Android is going to be more cost effective that building actual devices, but making Android phones isnt rediculous. It's been how many years and no Android OEM has stepped up to fill the corprate / security niche. I can't believe blackberry walked away from that. If MS wanted that, they would crush the competition in that sector, and more importantly, ensure that corprate partners stay on Windows and Office.
     
  • Hmm but Microsoft has no YouTube alternative. Might as well stick with WM.
  • That is very true, and while I imagine they could build their own variant of the YouTube service, it would be difficult to get it to the same level of popularity that YouTube has.
  • They did try, back when they considered purchasing YouTube and decided to roll their own, instead.  I think it was called MSN Video.  It failed miserably.  
  • Arrow's pretty nice.
  • Until they can mimic the whole Windows Mobile UI with Microsoft services and Live tiles, I will then switch.
  • Yep, if they give up on WM10 I hope they do that. The interface/live tiles/customization and app integration in WM10 is second to none. I hate the boring static crap of Andoird and IOS.
  • https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lx.launcher8   maybe this will help you...
  • Why isn't arrow launcher is on windows phones??
  • Because Windows is a closed ecosystem
  • So the extended question is, why doesn't Microsoft make this launcher an option in their own OS. They can open this up as an option. I know they forget it sometimes, but Windows is their own OS. :0 
  • Because then it would be an Android phone... The OS is not structured the way Android is.  Why do you think this isn't on iPhone.  Neither of those two OS allow skin layover.  And M$ is not going to restructure their OS just for a skin.  And that's a good thing.
  • So much for being a hater
  • Um okay?
  • That is a bad thing. They should at least allow OEMs to skin Windows phones. Maybe they would then put effort into them. As it is, OEMs are going to put more effort into their Android phones because they are given control of them.
  • If MS is going to abandon WM like it seems they are the LEAST they could do is develop an Andoird app launcher that looks and acts like WM10. Iw ill never move to Andord or IOS cause I hate the OS and hate the static icons crap. But if Android to look and feel like WM10 with the googleplay app store that would be great. I've tried some 3rd party app lauchers that simulate WM10 and they work ok and show alot of potential. MS should just do it and re skin adnord to work like WM10.
  • Are there any numbers of how many people actually use MS apps on iOS or android? I can't help feeling that its wishful thinking from MS that people are actually interested in these MS apps while there are a zillion alternatives to choose from.
  • MS Word has 100M download..even Outlook also has 50M download. It does say something.
  • It doesn't say enough.  I have Word and Outlook on my backup Android, but they didn't get any REVENUE from me downloading it. People will download for free, but what are the conversion numbers of those people signing up for O365? How many are subscribing to Groove?  Launcher is part of a significant and growing number of ZERO revenue apps that Microsoft is making for Android, but not putting on their own OS.  
  • They do not need revenue from that apps.. They just need people hook up to their services. O365 is growing that mean someone do use those services on every platform. MS still get money from every Android OEM though.
  • You're kind of restating what I said, but leaving out that there aren't hard numbers of those conversion rates of people using reveneue generating services. In fact, another article on another site had some information that the conversions to $$$ aren't a great story to tell.   The money that MS is getting from Android manufacturers isn't likely increasing from having an Arrow launcher or any of the other apps that MS is throwing at Android users, trying to desperately be liked.  
  • If their revenue growing mean something right? They just need people to hook up to their services.. More Android phone sold more patent money MS get.
  • Where is the data suggesting that their revenue is growing? Why do you think think that having an Arrow Launcher is helping Android sell more devices?  
  • Their last quarter report.. I don't say Arrow launcher will help Android OEM sell more devices. I do say the more Android OEM sell their device the more MS get the money through patent.
  • Really? You saw something on the last quarterly report that said providing free apps on Android and iOS is growing revenue services like O365, Groove, OneDrive Premium, etc.???  I don't think that story was told in any reporting.
  • No, they do not say that but those apps do make people connected to MS services. They do say that their O365 consumer is growing.
  • You're thinking about this all wrong.  There are already a ton of busineses that already use O365 (who are most likely already on Android/iOS).  Putting their app on Android and iOS allows them to give everybody additional "perks" of using their service.  For instance, I've been an Amazon Prime member for years now before they offered free video and music streaming.  Because of those perks, I will probably never leave.
  • Then there are no problem right? The chances of people using Windows laptop/2in1 use IOS/Android phone is 99% anyway.
  • @lbp775 - FINALLY, someone making a point instead of parroting bumper sticker mantras! :)  Your theory that some (I don't know how many = tons ) businesses already use O365 and their employees can link into it, has something worth looking into.   While researching, I'd also look into whether those companies were threatening to cancel O365 because their people who may or may not be using those bonus features.  I'm just not seeing this translate into any new sales, but I'm open to seeing the data, if it exists. 
  • I have excel and word on my phone, but I never use m. Come to think of it, 90% of the apps I downloaded I only used once or twice. So, downloads does not mean much. I guess I only use about ten apps daily.
  • I think mine boils down to maybe 4 apps used daily.
  • I use the Excel and Word apps...rarely.  I have a couple of simple/small spreadsheets that I use for reference. 
  • You still use it right? Why?
  • I don't use it often...at all.  I could and probably should convert those references to PDF or just store them in OneNote. 
  • u r wrong. no. of people who use M$ apps in android are way more than windows users. And it apps work great in android than in windows phone. MS releases frequent updates too... Cortana works great in android mobiles.
  • I just bought a LG v20. Cool phone and love the wide angle camera but it doesnt come close to my 950xl. Windows is so much nicer to use. Just wish the apps were up to date like android.
  • Reference back to a great article Zac wrote about why do you stay with WM, I for one love my 950XL ,yes unfortunately I've had to purchase an android device for a certain app , but Windows mobile OS far more refined and superior
  • Same boat here, my 950 is great but lack of apps make my smart phone not so smart, if the do make w10m redundant and use windows on arm so full windows there is still a lack of apps it'll take years to build up the app base
  • I use Arrow because I had to leave WP and it's amazing keep it coming
  • What phone is that in the photo?
  • oneplus 3T which I am using....
  • Like it?
  • Its great..... I like it alot....
    Particularly dash charge is awesome
  • Is that supposed to be the launcher that looks like Windows Phone / Mobile? Looks like Android to me.
  • It isn't supposed to look like Windows.
  • Arrow launcher is awesome. If you're willing to learn some new habits around its design, everyday usage is a lot more pleasant than the Google launcher.
  • Arrow Launcher in 1+3T is awesome...
  • As long as Android requires a Google account, and as long as nearly every tested Android phone comes with malware preinstalled, they can keep they rubbish.
  • Android doesn't require a Google account.
  • I have a Lumia 640 xl but I use my lg stylo 3 as my daily driver and I love it......
  • We should have Arrow with Tiles replacing Windows' limited Start screen.
    Cortana being one of the Arrow pages.
  • I like arrow but I have been a Windows Phone user since the beginning and to even bare using Android I had to write my own launcher... it's in testing right now at http://www.revolauncher.com and you can sign up for the beta... it uses Android notifications as live tile content and now it even supports pinning different email accounts from gmail or outlook to your home screen! It has made Android usable for... hopefully it can help others!
  • Look, you can get all your Microsoft services on Android with the advantage of the even better Google services being available as well.  Just do it, come to the intelligent choice, come to Android.
  • Nah, I'm good.