The Best Microsoft Apps For Android (!)

The Best Microsoft Apps For Android (!)

Ecosystem lock in is a rampant problem in the smartphone industry, with every manufacturer preferring its own platform at the expense of others. Every so often there are exceptions, though — like this collection of apps Microsoft made for Android.

Microsoft Office Mobile

An obvious, but Microsoft Office Mobile shouldn’t be overlooked in the Android space. The app allows you to view and make minor edits to Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. It’s not a replacement for Office, but it’s a handy piece of software to keep around.


An often-overlooked Microsoft contribution to the Android space is OneNote. Google's own note-taking app Keep is intentionally limited in its scope, while Evernote pours on the love for power users. OneNote strikes a nice middle-ground sweet spot. You can organise pages into notebooks like you can with Evernote, and you can scribble quick notes with text, pictures, audio and drawings like you can with Keep. If you're not married to any note taking app yet, it's worth a look.

Next Lock Screen

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Credit where it's due; Microsoft made a pretty neat lock screen. Carrying the inventive name of Next Lock Screen, this app shows you an agenda-style list of your notifications that you can swipe to dismiss or tap to go to the relevant app. It also includes a list of commonly-used shortcuts along the bottom. Drag this drawer up and you'll find a few more apps, as well as system shortcuts including the flashlight or Wi-Fi and Bluetooth toggles. Update: Apologies folks, turns out this one isn't available in Australia.

Smart Glass

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For Xbox users (both 360 and One), the Smart Glass app is indispensable. Not only does it allow you to access companion information while watching shows or playing games (such as seeing maps of Westeros during Game of Thrones), it also allows you to control your console's entire interface. You can access apps, scroll through messages, and navigate menus with the touchscreen on your phone or tablet. In many cases, this is much nicer than using a controller -- when entering your Wi-Fi password, for example.


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Xim is a weird little app that's actually a bit more useful than it seems at first glance. It allows you to create a collection of photos (called "Xims" because everything needs a silly name) and share it with someone. The neat feature is that, while you and your recipient are both viewing a Xim, you can swipe between pictures and it syncs between devices. You can also message each other within the app. Xims don't share photos directly and the recipient doesn't need to install the app to share the experience, making it a useful way to share photos in a semi-disposable way. It doesn't promise a lot of security (users can still take screenshots), but it's handy.


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