We always hear about how these different tech companies are at each other’s throats, but at the same time, they’re terribly interested in capturing one another’s audiences. That’s why there are so many Google apps for iPhone, for instance. If you happen to have an Android smartphone or tablet, but you’ve always been a Windows and Office kind of person, these Microsoft apps for Android devices will be right up your alley.
They don’t necessarily replace all of your favorite Google applications; instead, they can work in parallel with them, giving you more options as you take your work with you on the go. You can still watch YouTube videos and check your Gmail while using some Microsoft apps on the side.
Cloud computing and cloud storage has really taken off in the last couple of years, fueled by services like Dropbox and SugarSync. You might already use Google Drive on your Android device for storing and sharing some files, but Microsoft is not to be outdone with its SkyDrive application too. All of your SkyDrive content can be available via your smartphone and you can easily upload your photos and videos to the cloud for safe keeping, including the ability to select multiple files to upload all at once.
The Microsoft ecosystem stretches far and wide and that includes the gaming aspect with the Xbox brand. The Xbox 360 has quickly grown to become not only a hugely popular gaming console, but it also acts as a significant media hub in the living room. Sometimes, though, you’d like to have the two-screen experience and that’s what Xbox SmartGlass does. You can navigate through your Xbox 360 with swipes and taps, using your phone’s keyboard to compose messages to your Xbox friends, browsing the Internet with your phone’s keyboard and zooming abilities, and even control your videos and music. It’s like having a fancy universal touchscreen remote.
Microsoft Lync 2013
Turning back to the more business-oriented side of things, there are also Microsoft apps for Android that help you get work done. One such example is Lync 2013, which naturally ties into the existing Lync account you may have from the office. With the app, you have access to voice and video over wireless, rich presence, instant messaging, conferencing, and calling features. This is great for connecting to your Lync Meetings without having to deal with messy passcodes and conference numbers too.
Not surprisingly, Google Android devices come preconfigured to use Google as the default search engine. For a lot of us, that’s just fine and dandy, but there are many people who prefer to use Bing as their search engine of choice. This app makes that experience far easier and far richer than using just a mobile browser. You get voice-activated search, daily deal searches, movie ratings, restaurant reviews, Facebook integration, driving directions with current traffic, and more.
Bing Daily Wallpapers
This is the only app on this list of Microsoft apps for Android that doesn’t actually come from Microsoft itself. Instead, it comes from a developer named Ryan DH and what it does is pull the daily wallpapers that you see on the Bing homepage, downloading them to your phone so that you can use them as a new daily Android wallpaper. In fact, the setting of the new wallpaper daily can happen automatically in the background. This adds a dynamic new look to your Android smartphone each day and, what’s more, you can even see the comments that people have made on each of the wallpaper images.
Yes, Gmail is the way to go for e-mail inside the Google ecosystem, but if you’re doing the Microsoft thing, you have to get the official Outlook.com app for the best access to your Outlook.com email. The look and feel mirror the desktop web-based experience, complete with the ability to sync your Calendar and Contacts. What’s great is that it also supports multiple Outlook.com accounts too. If you want a different approach, the original Hotmail Android app is also available through the Google Play Store.
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