The Microsoft Garage team, the company’s haven for “uber geeks,” released three application onto Google Play this week for Android devices. We now have a voice recognition app for Android Wear, a lock screen replacement app for your smartphone, and a note sharing app for those who like to travel.
The first app, called Torque, is installable on any Android Wear device, replacing the need for you to say “Ok Google” whenever you need to make a query. Instead, simply twist your wrist, ask your question, and then receive your answer from Microsoft’s Bing engine.
While it comes off as peculiar that anyone would want Bing on their Android Wear device, Microsoft’s team actually had a great answer for why they decided to focus on this project. Ronette Lawrence, principal product planner with Microsoft’s Digital Life & Work Development, stated, “We live in a services world now. Software has evolved from something that needs to be specific by device, to largely Web hosted and cloud supported — and we think the device someone uses shouldn’t matter. We want to bring better experiences to whatever device they choose to use.”
Next up is the Next Lock Screen app. According to Microsoft’s video for the application, Android is rather hard to navigate. This lock screen, built for fast-paced professionals, places everything a busy corporate professional like you would need right on your lock screen. For example, it will place phone numbers for direct dialing, important application shortcuts, as well as calendar events that you need reminding of. While it seems to take away any form of privacy, which is what a lock screen is usually for, it does feature a well laid out design.
Finally, we have Journeys & Notes. This app allows users to create notes and stories based on where they are, then share them with others that are at the same location. For example, if you travel to the Grand Canyon, you can place a virtual note at that location, telling the next person that comes along a special place to shoot a photo or any other tip you can think of. The same goes for your commute or daily walk around the park. Anything you feel like sharing with others through this app is a thumbs up.
To me, it is kind of like Foursquare, but more for checking into your travel destinations and using the app more like a journal. If you can get a ton of your friends using this service, it might be pretty cool down the road.
All three apps are free on Google Play, featuring zero IAPs. Go check them out by following the links below.
Next Lock Screen
Journeys & Notes