Tag: Microsoft

Microsoft Teams Update Bring HD Video Calling

Microsoft continues to develop their suite of apps for Android and the latest update to Microsoft Teams reflects that development.  The Slack-like app for enterprise Office 365 customers has been updated to version 1416/1.0.0.2017071901 for those keeping score at home and with it comes several key new features and improvements.

The big news is HD audio & video joining of meetings.  Audio meetings has been in Teams for sometime now but the audio was not HD quality and the option to join via video was not available.  Now when you join a meeting, you have the option to do so via video from your phone.

Bing for Android Gets a Significant UI Update

Microsoft has begun rolling out a significantly revamped Bing for Android app to the Play Store.  The update brings a new look with a simplified search experience, a color refresh, and quicker access to specific content in search results.  The update also expands the search results you can get from the app such as searching for GIFs and being able to save them to your favorites.

While most Android users tend to think about Google Search on their devices, Bing remains the number 2 search engine in the United States and for those who are deep into the Microsoft ecosystem, especially Windows 10 users, this update to the Bing app will be a welcome update.

Microsoft To-Do for Android Update Brings Notification Area Task Creation

Microsoft To-Do, the daily task manager that was born out of the company’s acquisition of Wunderlist back in 2015, has a new update rolling out that brings a host of improvements.  The update, version 1.8.23 for those keeping score at home, fixes several issues with the task management app but also brings a new Quick add feature to the notification areas of your Android phone.

The new Quick add feature, when enabled, will put a notification for To-Do in the notification area on your phone.  By tapping it, you can quickly create a new task which is added to your list in the app.  All of this can be done without actually opening up the app itself.  By default, this new feature is not enabled.  If you want to enable it, go in the app to the menu, tap your avatar then find the Quick add notification setting in the General settings.  Toggle it on and you are good-to-go.

Microsoft Arrow Launcher Update Brings Further UI Tweaks

Microsoft Arrow Launcher has yet another update rolling out in the Play Store.  The update, version 3.6.0.34513 for those keeping score at home, brings a number of UI tweaks and improvements to the launcher.  Many of these tweaks are just that:  Tweaks.  There are, however, some new features to be found in the update too.

One of those new features is the ability to hide the system status bar at the top of your phone.  The system status bar is where you see things like your mobile signal indicator, Wi-Fi indicator, battery and notification icons.  Now you can hide it from view for a cleaner look to your home screens.  To view the status bar, you can just swipe down from the top of your home screen.  This new feature is found in Settings>General settings>Keep status bar.

Microsoft Teams Update Brings Expanded Cloud Storage Support

Microsoft Teams, the company’s Slack-like app for collaboration and messaging, has an update rolling out for both Android and iOS.  The update brings a handful of new features, once of which is expanded support for cloud storage services.  To this point, Teams has only supported OneDrive, Microsoft’s own cloud storage.  With this update, services like Box and Google Drive are now supported for you to share files from within the app.

The updated version for Android is build 1.0.0.2017062601.  The update was release late last week so it should be to everyone by this week.  The update to the Android and iOS apps reflect a similar update to the desktop version of the app released a couple of weeks ago.  Now, across all platforms, you can share from different cloud storage solutions.

Microsoft OneNote for Android Update Brings Improved Navigation

Microsoft OneNote for Android has a substantial update rolling out in the Play Store today that brings improved navigation to the note taking app.  The update brings the same panel style navigation between notebooks, sections and pages that are in the Windows, Mac and iOS versions of the app.  It makes navigating much faster and easier as well as being the same on whatever device you happen to be using.

The new build for Android phones is version 16.0 for those keeping score and should be hitting devices with OneNote installed over the course of the next few days.

Microsoft Arrow Launcher Update Brings More Information Flexibility

Microsoft’s continual updating of Arrow Launcher, the company’s Android launcher app, has been impressive and for the most part, have been significant updates.  That’s no different with the latest update, version 3.6.  This update to Microsoft Arrow Launcher brings a handful of refinements and improvements to the launcher.  Perhaps the most interesting one for the majority of users is the ability to hid or show the system status bar.

The System Status bar is the bar at the top of the display where you see your clock, Wi-Fi indicator, battery indicator and so forth. Arrow Launcher now gives you the option in Settings>General Settings to turn this on or off.  This is a great feature if you want to have a more clutter free view of your home screen.

Microsoft Cortana Can Now Be Your Default Assistant

Microsoft Cortana, the company’s digital assistant, has been available on Android for some time now and its latest update brings an exponential improvement in usability to the app.  The new build, version 2.8.0 for those keeping score, allows you to configure Cortana so that it is your default assistant app instead of Google Assistant.  It means that you can now long press the Home button on your phone and it will pop-up Cortana so you can ask questions directly to it.

The new feature in Cortana is not enabled by default so if you want to use it as your Assistant, you will have to configure you phone to do so.  Just go into Settings and use the search feature to find Assist.  This will open up your defaults page on your phone (where you set your home launcher, browser, etc) and you will see a section Assist & voice input.  Tap it then tap on Assist app.  Now you can change it from Google to Cortana.

OneDrive Update Brings Offline Folder Support

The OneDrive app for Android has a new update rolling out in the Play Store.  The update, version 4.13 for those keeping score at home, brings a new offline folder feature and an improved Discover view for corporate and education Office 365 subscribers.  The new offline folder feature, however, is only for individual users.

In the last update to the app, users were able to select individual files that they wanted to keep offline.  The idea was to give users the ability to work on a file while they did not have Internet access then, when a connection was restored, the updated file would be uploaded to the cloud storage service automatically.  This is the exact same way it works in this update, only you can select an entire folder and all of its contents to be available offline.

Microsoft Authenticator Adds Fingerprint Support

Microsoft Authenticator, the 2-factor verification app from the Redmond company, has a nice update rolling out to it for users.  The new build, version 6.1.7 for those keeping score at home, brings fingerprint authentication to the app.  What this will allow you to do is approve a login request by tapping the fingerprint scanner on your phone and not require you to enter the six digit code to approve it.  It is all aimed at keeping things easier but also secure.

If you haven’t tried Microsoft Authenticator, it works how you would expect a 2-factor app to work but it does so with a bit more flare by having avatars for your accounts.  For example, you have the Facebook logo for your Facebook account, or the Google “G” with your Google account.  It also has a nice, 30 second countdown clock next to each code so you know when it is about to expire.

Bing for Android Update Improves The Search Results Page

The Bing search app for Android has a small but nice update rolling out to users today.  The update is version 6.8.25183598.D2C for those keeping score at home and who like to play version number Bingo.  On the surface, you are not going to find massive changes.  Functionally the app is the same as the previous version.  However, when you do a search, the results page are much more aligned to what you see when you use the desktop search in your browser.

Search results now offer a mix of links, branded results (if you are searching for a brand) and photos.  The idea is to bubble up not just text links to information but also provide more relevant media too.

Quick Tip: Add Widgets to The Utility Page in Arrow Launcher

The Microsoft Arrow Launcher is one of the most useful launchers in the Google Play Store right now, particularly if you are a heavy Microsoft apps user.  I’ve reviewed this launcher in the past and Microsoft continues to make big strides in improving it on a seemingly monthly basis.  One of the features that came with the last major update was the ability to add widgets to the Utility page in the launcher.

For clarity, the Utility page is a single page that you swipe right to get to from the Home page.  There you can see your recent contacts, your calendar, documents and so forth.  All of this content is tied to your phone or to your Office 365 (personal or business) account to get you these files and information at a glance.  You can turn this page off in the settings but once you get it configured the way you want, it is actually quite handy.  Think of it, in a way, as the Microsoft version of the Google Now page.

If you are using the latest version of Arrow Launcher, you can add other app widgets to the Utility page.  This will free up space on your Home pages but also give you the ability to at glance see a bunch of widgets in one place.  It is quite handy.