Microsoft Garage brings interesting Android apps from bored engineers


microsoft garage projects

Microsoft has unveiled a new initiatives to get their engineers working on projects that interest them. It’s called Microsoft Garage, and it’s not all that dissimilar to the 20% time Google gives their employees for working on side projects every week. As Microsoft puts it:

Hackers, makers, artists, tinkerers, musicians, inventors—
on any given day you’ll find them in The Microsoft Garage.

We are a community of interns, employees, and teams from everywhere in the company who come together to turn our wild ideas into real projects. This site gives you early access to projects as they come to life.

It’s an awesome new initiative by Microsoft that should breed the same innovation that’s helped Google come up with some of their best services and apps. Microsoft Garage has already spawned some very interesting creations, and funnily enough many of those creations are made for Android.

There’s Journeys and Notes, an experimental social network that emphasizes places as much as people. Folks who beat the same path can come together to share their experience, whether it was a simple ride to work or a refreshing jog in the park.

Next Lock Screen is a lock-screen replacement that brings your calendar appointments, messages and most used apps to the forefront. It’s not the first or most exciting smart lock screen we’ve ever seen, but it does seem to be designed pretty well and also comes with a couple of unique features (such as the ability to automatically change lock-screen wallpapers based on time of day or location).

Finally there’s Bing Torque, an Android Wear app that connects you to Bing with the simple flick of your wrist (as opposed to using the voice-activated OK Google command to be whisked away to Google’s search engine). Bing Torque is voice-capable after the initial flick of your wrist so you won’t ever have to touch the watch to perform whatever search you need.

It’s very telling that Microsoft Garage has spawned more Android products than products for Microsoft’s own platforms to this point. That could change in the near future, but for Microsoft this isn’t just about improving their own platform and bottom line — it’s about inspiring and promoting innovative ideas from within their company to help change the tech world however they can. Kudos to Microsoft for a much needed culture change.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. already downloaded the lock screen. It’s actually pretty nice. Will continue to use.

  2. as an ex-winmo fanboy, I like what microsoft is doing :)

    1. Same here even if none if the apps so far interest me.

  3. Why can’t Google make it so I don’t have to say “OK Google”?

    1. I know, right? It is such an arduous task, like mining for blood diamonds. I want to just quiver my lip, or exhale a bit louder to get to my search.

  4. “It’s very telling that Microsoft Garage has spawned more Android
    products than products for Microsoft’s own platforms to this point.”

    Spoken like an ignorant Google shill. There’s nothing telling about it, because it’s not even remotely true. Here, educate yourself. That’s just a few.

    Unlike Google, Microsoft supports all platforms and has for years. When is Google going to start?

    1. Hey man, that link comes back with an error:
      The page you requested does not exist. For your convenience, a google search was performed using the query microsoft garage launches bunch new windows phone apps and gameshttp www windowscentral com microsoft garage launches bunch new windows phone appsUnlike.

    2. I’ve been using chrome on every platform I own for years now. back when winmo was the only real mobile OS (before iphone) I had google maps on my winmo phone. it was glorious.

      1. Google hates Microsoft. Absolutely zero Google Services on Windows. And the Google APIs are broken, I think on purpose.

    3. Google will never support anything else. They’re far too competitive.

  5. I’m running 4.4 on my note3, anyone have any ideas why I may not be allowed to download this? Or is this a US only kind of thing?

  6. I want a lockscreen replacement that has a pattern lock, but disables the security when I connect to my own Wi-Fi network.
    I use an Xposed module now, but it doesn’t work with 3rd party lockscreens. Until they start having this feature, I’m sticking to stock.

  7. Let’s see what Microsoft Garbage produces.

  8. I’m always excited to try out different lock screens, more so than launchers. needless to say, when I saw this one shows messages, emails and whatnot on the lock screen I was excited. That’s my fetish! I thought, so I got it, configured it, left work. Hrm, phone connected to car just fine, but music didn’t start playing, must have been a glitch. 3 times in a row it didn’t start.

    To my dismay, the lock screen app doesn’t allow music streaming to start automatically when BT connects. Great lock screen, but loss of functionality is very unimpressive.

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