Microsoft has never been in the good graces of Android users, but that may be about to change as the company's Garage project has released some interesting niche apps for Android. Next Lock Screen, Journeys and Notes, and the Torque app for Android Wear offer users potential value outside of Microsoft's traditional applications.
The Verge takes a look at Microsoft's Garage project, and notes that it could herald the dawn of a new culture of innovation at Microsoft.
According to The Verge:
Google might not be interested in building apps for Windows Phone, but Microsoft isn’t holding any grudges. Starting today, the software giant is expanding its Garage project to give outsiders a chance to see what Microsoft employees create inside the company during their free time. Some of those projects might be iOS, Windows, or Android apps, but the really interesting ones, and the ones Microsoft is choosing to highlight today, are for Google’s Android operating system.
Microsoft Garage is a big change for the company, especially the idea of employees being encouraged to create cross-platform apps in their spare time. Other companies have similar initiatives, including Google's 20 percent program that lets employees spend time working on what they think will most benefit Google. "It does represent a new direction for the company," admit Jeff Ramos, the manager of Microsoft Garage. "We’re evolving our culture, wanting to get better with experimentation."
Kudos to Microsoft for its Garage project, and for trying to evolve it's culture. The company has needed such changes for a long, long time and perhaps this will be a turning point as it moves forward. At the very least the Garage project seems to be turning out some interesting niche apps.
Of course, I cannot resist noting that some people will probably be skeptical about this effort, and understandably so. Microsoft has had a terrible track record in mobile innovation over the last ten years or so. Those cynical of the Garage effort might simply add a "b" and remove an "a" to the name of the project and write it off as "Garbage."
Microsoft's Next Lock Screen is available on the Google Play store today, and here's the YouTube video that walks you through it's features: