When it comes to fun and customization Microsoft is not normally what first comes to mind. For me their operating systems are quite generic looking although highly functional. But recently Microsoft have been taking on a different approach to their products and seeming to be bracing a more open-source nature. It now seems Microsoft has released a lock screen app specifically for Android devices and it’s not half bad.
‘Next’ as mentioned is a lock screen widget app which will replace your main lock screen. However unlike your current lock screen Next turns the lock page into highly functional lock screen. Next reads all the data on your device and uses this to display the information on the lock screen for easy viewing. So for instance you can see the first line or two of information from SMS, mail and other incoming notifications without having to open the app or click the notification link. Messages from the same source (i.e. all SMS) are not grouped together and as such each message can be easily seen. The messages remain permanently on your lockscreen until you open the app and it is no longer recognized as ‘new’. The information is also pulled from Google Now too so any important events or information is also displayed in an easy to read manner. You can see from the image above that my team Tottenham are playing in two hours. Better finish this quick then.
Another extremely handy feature is that a large number of apps are able to be placed on the lockscreen allowing for very easy opening of your ‘most used’ apps. The app lists can also be customised so that the lock screen only displays the apps you want. There is also a blacklist in the settings section so you can choose apps you want to remain hidden from the lock screen altogether. Lastly and probably the aspect I find the most useful is that there is a quick toggle menu for tools. So for instance within a millisecond you can toggle your WiFi, Bluetooth or Sync on and off. This is an extremely handy feature when you simple just want to disconnect an ongoing service. There is also a fairly good degree of customization available with the ability to change the wallpapers and look and feel. Not to mention there is also the ability to choose between home, work and on-the-go modes in which different apps are displayed at different times i.e. Skype when you are at work and Hangouts when you get home. Overall, this app is genuinely quite good and certainly for what seems to be an alpha offering. There are a couple of minor issues and bugs that need to be worked out. For instance, Google+ notifications don’t seem to be showing up at the moment. Not sure if this is because of the app or due to running on a custom ROM or what. Either way you should certainly go and check this one out. The app is free to download and available on Google Play. Check out the images and video below if you want to see some more.