Microsoft Launcher Beta (Arrow) Community Report

Digital Wellbeing is a feature launched with Android 9.0 Pie and it tracks the user's usage patterns on their devices. Microsoft Launcher v5.1.0.47598 beta brings, sort of, the same core functionality to older versions of Android too, but lacks extra features like app timers and winddown mode from Google's counterpart. "Screen time", as Microsoft calls it, logs how long your screen has been on, which apps you use the most and how many times you have unlocked your screen, with a back record of up to 7 days. By the way, to do all for all of these to work properly, it requires the usage access permission to be given to the Launcher from your device's settings. You can see all of your personal usage statistics from inside the Feed, or either you can add "Screen time" as a widget to your homescreen. Meanwhile, there are bug fixes and other things in tow with this beta update, and below is the published changelog for it:

Changelog

  • Track your screen time, app usage and phone unlocks with the new screen time card
  • The Launcher To Do card now shows tasks from apps like Microsoft To Do, Outlook and Skype
  • The Launcher Notes card now shows your Notes from Sticky Notes on Windows, Outlook and OneNote mobile
  • Cortana now has an updated card with commute/traffic
  • "Hey Cortana" as a beta feature for the en-us market
  • Cortana support in the ES-ES market
  • Bing mini-answers shows you quick answers for stocks and currency

Some of the other more noticeable additions here are the upgraded tasks and notes launcher cards, which can pull data and synchronize it in-between from other MS services such as To Do, Outlook, Skype, Sticky Notes on Windows, Outlook and OneNote mobile. The Cortana card has been updated too, now with commute/traffic info, and you should definitely start testing the "Hey Cortana" launch phrase to remotely start Cortana from the launcher itself, but this is only available in English US right now. With this release, she also learns the ability to speak Spanish (Spain), which is a welcome upgrade for Spanish speakers.

The MS Launcher draws the path to become more like a hub for everything Microsoft, and this may be a very good reason for it to be one of the top go-to launcher apps for Android power users. What do you think? Please, do let us know in the comments.

  • Winner of the 10 Best Android Launchers: "Arrow keeps all the info and apps you need in compact, context-sensitive pages." - Tom's guide
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