Latest update to the Microsoft Garage’s Arrow Launcher delivers central hub, richer customization and more

 |   Athima Chansanchai

The latest update to Arrow Launcher, version 3.0, includes a new central hub that condenses many productivity functions, richer customization options and improved battery efficiency.

“Arrow’s mission is to continue our relentless focus to be the best productivity-based launcher in the market,” says James Hsu, product lead on the Office Experience Org Mobile team.

Originally released in November 2015 through the Microsoft Garage, Arrow is a streamlined launcher for Android devices that learns what you use most on your device and makes it easier to get to it, and then gets you back to what you were doing. Your favorite apps are automatically arranged based on your usage, so you can easily find and keep in touch with the people who you contact most often, and quickly get back to your recent photos, downloads, apps and contacts.

New home screen for Arrow Launcher v3.

Backed by the Office team, the latest update adds a new utility page, a central hub that condenses many of Arrow’s best productivity functions: recent activity, favorite contents, recent apps, reminders and documents. Each function is displayed as a compact Arrow card.

“Arrow 3.0 is also leaner, faster and more battery-efficient than ever,” says Hsu.

He says it now launches apps 10 percent faster and is 20 percent more memory efficient when loading pages and animations. It’s also 15 percent more battery efficient.

And now, it’s even easier for users to customize Arrow.

“Launchers are an extension of user’s identity and we’ve made it super easy for any user to create a unique experience that they love,” Hsu says.

Wallpapers for Arrow Launcher v3.

Now there’s an extensive collection of wallpapers to match any mood or style; the ability to rename apps, change their logos or size, and hide them; and support for both horizontal and vertical page scrolling.

To make sure users don’t lose their custom settings after they install new builds of Arrow, there’s a new backup and restore feature.

Arrow users will also be able to search their phones or the web for apps, contacts, text messages, web results and more by swiping down from any screen.

These improvements, Hsu says, came from “listening intently to user feedback.”

“We talk with users daily to understand how to make our features more useful to them,” Hsu says. “Our current 3.0 release puts this into practice. We collected several weeks of pre-release testing data and feedback to make it as good as possible.”

The Garage, which celebrated a major milestone in November, is the outlet for Microsoft teams around the world to get experimental apps and projects out to the public, such as several developed by interns, as well as Email Insights, Video BreakdownClip LayerKaizalaSprightlyNews Pro 3.0 and Color Binoculars.

Download Arrow Launcher and find out more about it at The Garage.

Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff

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