Microsoft Launches Translator & Updates OneNote

If you're a die-hard Android fan, then you're probably dipping all your fingers and toes into different products that Google operates.  But since Google's Chrome OS isn't for everyone just yet, many people who are Google users rely on their Mac or Windows computer for full functionality and usability.  Microsoft's Windows platform specifically has many of the same offerings as Google's Chrome OS, leaving the obvious differences aside.  One major feature that Microsoft has been hard at work at over the past year is bringing much of its Windows experience and services to users that don't necessarily want to dedicate their pocket to a Windows Phone just yet, or ever.

Last year, we saw Microsoft launch Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, as well as OneNote and OneDrive before them, onto the Android platform, which is great for Android users.  But now that Android-powered wearable are lightly competing with Microsoft wearables, Microsoft seems to be updating their Android apps to make them play nice with the screen some Android users have strapped on their wrist.  An update to OneDrive last year brought us Android Wear users a new watch face that showcased photos we have stored in Microsoft's cloud.  And when OneNote got its Wear compatibility update a while back, it added the ability to add and create notes from your Wear smartwatch.  Now, Microsoft updated its apps again, as well as added its Translator app to the lineup of Android apps, as well as Wear-compatible ones.

First, let's note that OneNote got an update recently that finally enabled note viewing on Android Wear, without showing pictures in a note if there are any, so you can finally browse the shopping list you made in OneNote yesterday on the way to the gym.  Finally, if you use OneNote over Google Keep, you can review our notes, which is a great addition.  Now, onto the new kid on the block. Microsoft Translator does what it says on the tin, with an interesting bit of UI and UX included on top.  First, it's worth noting that the app is very pretty, with a blurred photo as a background instead of a solid color, and the same is true of the Wear interface.  The style of the app is obviously more in line with Windows 10 than Android Lollipop's Material Design, and it offers a refreshing take on a translation app if you're used to relying on Google's offering.  The app offers translations between fifty different languages, both written and spoken in the phone interface.  Meanwhile on your wrist, you're given the voice-only option.  Translator's also got a list of recently translated phrases and words, as well as the nifty feature of pinning a translation, in case you need it for later and can't remember exactly how you phrased it before and don't want or have the time to scroll through recent translations.  The pinned translation is also available on your smartwatch, so it's even more convenient.

And, to add to the convenience of the app's interface between phone and watch is one of the features you might want to give a try for yourself.  When you open the app on your watch, speak into it and it translates your request, your phone will output the audio even if the screen is off and locked.  This is especially helpful because the phone app has a 'speak it aloud' option to push, while the watch doesn't.  This feature could make Translator not just a useful tool for communicating, but also a great study aid for people learning a foreign language and needing to hear the sentence aloud.

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About the Author

Phil Bourget

Staff Writer
Using Android since 2012 and the Galaxy S III, I'm now running a Nexus 5 paired to a Moto 360 to keep updated on the Internet of stuff. Usually found on Google+ or in class.