The last few weeks have been rough for Microsoft and especially Windows Phone users. Microsoft finally admitted that Windows Phone was now just for enterprises and the company will focus on enterprise features. Of course, this didn’t come as a shock since the market share has been declining and companies have been dropping support for Windows Phone. We also saw rumours floating on the internet claiming that the Redmond giant might be planning to move to Android. While those rumours were fake, we decided to imagine what if Microsoft decided to make an Android device or a company decided to bundle Microsoft services on their Android device. For this, we came up with a list of apps/services from Microsoft that could replace their Google counterparts.
Before moving forward, below is the list of core services which can’t be replaced or which doesn’t have any replacement available from Microsoft.
- Core Google System Base
- Google Android Shared Services
- Google Play Store
- Google Calendar Sync
- Dialer Framework
- Google Package Installer
- Google Play services
- OEM Camera App/Google Camera
The above-mentioned services don’t have a replacement available from Microsoft or can’t be replaced. Putting these aside, the other services are replaceable. But before moving on to those, do note that this article just gives the list of Microsoft services that can replace Google Counterparts. There’s a chance that it might not work on some phones or the features and functionality might differ from device to device. Please check compatibility of Apps on Google Play Store. We can’t be held responsible for any problems you might face using any of these services.
With that being said, let’s head to our list of apps and services from Microsoft.
- Microsoft Launcher- Microsoft Launcher (previously known as Arrow Launcher) is a launcher by Microsoft. The launcher takes tidbits from Windows Phone design experience and presents the information in a neat manner. The launcher has integration with Bing to download Bing wallpapers for your home screen and Wunderlist for your to-do list. The launcher also comes with “Continue on PC” for docs, images and website URLs which lets you send files and links directly to your PC. You can also personalize your feed accordingly and have custom gestures. Microsoft Launcher is an amazing app that can replace your home screen.
- Cortana: If you’re a Windows user then Cortana is not new to you. Cortana has been around for a while now and it has improved over time. Right now, Cortana can serve as the perfect replacement for Google Assistant. On top of it, Cortana can sync your notifications to your PC which is helpful in situations where you don’t have your phone nearby. You can also use Cortana to sync your To-Do lists, Reminders, etc across devices which make day-to-day work easier. Cortana can easily replace Google Assistant on your Android phone.
- Outlook Calendar and Email: Outlook Calendar has been around for a long time now and is now available on all the platforms. The app combines both the Calendar and Email into a single app. Some of the unique and helpful features include integration with Facebook, Evernote and Wunderlist which syncs the events directly to your calendar. Outlook can also keep a track of your Favorite TV Shows, Movies, Sports, etc and will remind you to watch them. Outlook can easily serve as a replacement to both Calendar and Gmail app as it supports all the email services and comes with better features like Focused Inbox, Spam filters, etc.
- SMS Organizer: SMS Organizer is an Android app as a part of Microsoft’s Garage Project . As its name says it is an SMS Organization app that filters SMSes that a user receives into different categories like Personal, Transactional and Promotional texts . Also, if you think that a SMS has been categorized wrong by the Machine Learning Algorithm that powers the app, you can always re-categorize them manually. Secondly, you can also schedule messages to go out at a particular instance of time. This is a neat feature but there is another feature that makes it super useful is Smart Reminders . The ML algorithm detects a context of making a reminder on the basis of the conversation. Also, there are contextual actions like check PNR status, check Flight status and do Check-in directly on the cards for quick access. And, you can even send free SMS (requires internet connection) to any mobile number in India. Lastly, you can always Backup and Restore the conversations that matter locally on and from the device and the cloud storage like Google Drive or OneDrive.
- Edge : Here comes the most interesting app on the list. This has been the most controversial Windows 10 exclusive app to come to other platforms. The next Microsoft browser was released to Android and iOS devices as a beta about a month ago but it is worth mentioning that it is working great until now. Using it personally on my Android device, it is lag-free and crash-free. It provides features like Continue on PC, Data Sync, Hub View, QR Code Reader, Speech Inputs, InPrivate browsing, etc. This app gives the user a consistent experience across all the devices and helps him super productive.
- OneDrive : Launched as Windows Live Folders codenamed SkyDrive in June 2010, it has been a great service by Microsoft with an average rating of 4.4/5 on Google Play Store alone. This is Microsoft’s answer to other Cloud Storage providers like Box, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc . With the Android app, you can sync up your Camera Roll on the cloud automatically. Open any Word, Excel, PowerPoint or OneNote file directly into the app, discover your collection using Automatic Tagging, get updates about Shared Documents, Share Photos and Albums, Access important files Offline.
- To-Do : Microsoft To-Do was launched as a To Do List app after Microsoft acquired Wunderlist in 2015 . They then released Microsoft To Do where a user can make a list and the list synchronizes with all the other devices running the same app.
- Skype: Skype has been a source of a good revenue for Microsoft. The IM and calling app is available for Android Phones and Tablets. The user can create an account with Outlook or Facebook and add other friends with their emails or usernames. One on One IMs, voice calls and video calls and even in groups to anyone in the world. However, the Skype to Mobile or Landline calls are charged but calls to Mobiles and Landlines in US and Canada are always free 24 x 7.
- Microsoft Office Apps- PowerPoint, Excel, Word, OneNote : The earliest productivity services from Microsoft after Windows was Microsoft Office Suite. They are most used Presentation, Document, Spreadsheet and Note services on the planets with competition from Google or WPS. These apps work well and perform the desired tasks properly as it does on other major platforms. Usage and performance of the apps are good on devices and is now also coming preinstalled with many devices.
- SwiftKey Keyboard: Microsoft acquired SwiftKey in early 2016 . SwiftKey supports 150+ Languages, predicts next words with the power of AI, supports flow writing, predefined + custom themes supported, emoji keyboard, and more. This is a perfect replacement for Google’s GBoard as we can look that it provides better services than the native keyboard .
- Office Lens : Voted as Best app of the year in US and Puerto Rico in 2015, Microsoft’s Office Lens is an answer to other handheld scanner services from Adobe Scan and Camscanner . Whether you are a student or an adult, Lens makes sharing of handouts, notes and documents easy using other powerful services like OneNote and OneDrive .
- MSN Apps- Weather, News, Sports News/News Pro, Money : MSN apps have always been an integral part of Microsoft’s ecosystem . The weather, news, sports and money apps provide a glance at latest happenings from the Headlines, Weather news, Sports News and Finance News .
- Microsoft Translator : Microsoft’s translation tool rival to Google Translate is undoubtedly a great service. With translation support for about 60 Languages both Online and Offline, the app can even translate prints on papers and signboards making it better for travelers, support for translation and sync on Android Wear, In Person translations, sharing of translations, and more!
- Mimicker Alarm : Another Microsoft Garage project that makes sure that you wake up when it is time to do so . This app only turns off the alarm when the user completes the given task like a tongue twister which is a great way to get a person to his senses . I highly recommend this app!
- Next Lockscreen : A Winner of “Best lock screen app for Android” award — AndroidPIT, Best Android apps of 2016, this lock screen app is phenomenal. With support for custom locks like PIN, Password, Pattern and Fingerprint (on supported phones), Notifications from apps, people, app, tool shortcuts, weather and calendar feed shortcuts the app has ability to use the gorgeous Bing Images as backgrounds!
This was our list of the Microsoft powered apps that can replace the preinstalled Google Services on an Android device . The fullness of the list clearly shows Microsoft is moving forward to bring all its competitive services to other platforms. Hopefully, in the fullness of time, Microsoft will also close the last gaps for those who really want to have a completely Google-free Android phone.
Are there any essential apps we missed? Let us know below.