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Microsoft

 

Hi there, beta users! 

The new version of Microsoft Launcher v5.4.0 is now fully available for your testing starting from today! we are rolling out 5.4 release for you to try out, in this version we include several fix and finetune on UX fundamental and usability, and you will see detailed information on these feature additions in the what's new section below. You can now try this by installing from the Google Play Beta store. 
 
Here's what's new in Microsoft Launcher v5.4:
  • Try out our new Cricket widget to keep track of your favorite teams in the Cricket World Cup!( available in GB, PK, AU and IN)
  • Improvements to Status bar and System Navigation to match theme
  • Android Work Profile customers can view Personal and Work apps separately in the App Drawer.
  • Bug fixes and performance improvements
 besides above what's new features, we are also experimenting with some new UI changes across different parts of Launcher, so you might see some of new UI in your own version of 5.4 when upgraded. 
 
To become a Microsoft Launcher Beta tester:
•  Go to https://play.google.com/apps/testing/com.microsoft.launcher
•  Click "Become a tester". You'll see a confirmation "You are now a tester." 
Moving forward, you'll always get the latest Beta build when it's available, as long as Microsoft Launcher is running.
 
The beta build may need a couple of hours or a day to propagate before you will see it in your Google Play download link, depending on Google Play roll out progress, and please keep the feedback coming! As always, we thank you for your support.
 
Gorden on behalf of Microsoft Launcher Team

 

57 Comments
Occasional Contributor

"we are also experimenting with some new UI changes across different parts of Launcher, so you might see some of new UI in your own version of 5.4 when upgraded. "

 

Does this mean the design changes are being tested with only a subset of users?

Senior Member

Nice work guys! 

New Contributor

got the new 5.4... I felt that Microsoft team just totally ignored user feedbacks from this forum.

 

Contributor

@lxllxl Absolutely agree, all the reports from the latest beta are still there. The Search bar still doesn't match the user settings in Search windows and Glance screen, Microphone icon still uses both Material and Segoe styles across the launcher, Screen usage window still doesn't use Blur and that ugly Roboto font is still there. Smh

Microsoft

@indospot yes, some new UI explorations are only visible to some of the flight users. 

Microsoft

@SOI_7 @lxllxl we value every feedback from users, the Roberto feedback is well noted, and @SOI_7 can you elaborate more on your feedback towards Microphone icon, search bar style mismatch and screen usage blur issue? 

Regular Visitor

Please get rid of Roboto. I still cannot understand why an awesome launcher had to be ruined under the excuse of 'consistency' with the rest of the OS. Aesthetic matters, a lot. So, please act based on what people feedback.

Still on versión 5. 2. 1. 49859 because of lovely, elegant, Segoe ui.

Contributor

@Gorden_Lin I actually made two posts about these issue, both completely ignored. I'll provide some screenshots to help you understand.
First of all, the Microphone icon inconsistency. The Searchbar uses the Material Design icon, while the rest of the launcher still uses the Segoe MDL2 Asset:

IMG_20190424_130123.jpg

Personal preference: I like the MDL2 Asset icon more than the Material Design one. You said you had to stick to one design choice to save space, but right now you're wasting space keeping both icons. You should either ditch one of them, or at least allow us to pick a Microphone icon style, since you already gave us the option to choose the searchbar shape. Adding Microphone style options could be a nice addition.

Second, the Searchbar. You can choose the searchbar shape, but your choice will be displayed only on the home screen, and not in the whole launcher:

Screenshot_2019-04-24-13-26-28-133_com.microsoft.launcher.jpg

Third, the gear icon in the Weather widget suffers the same issue of the Microphone icon:

Screenshot_2019-04-24-13-20-49-988_com.microsoft.launcher copy.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And lastly, the Screen usage screen. Right now it is only transparent, while it should be blurred just like all the other cards in the Launcher:

Screenshot_2019-04-24-13-21-19-997_com.microsoft.launcher.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope I've been clear

Microsoft

@SOI_7 thanks for your detailed reply and much appreciated the screen shot which is really helpful, I have forwarded your suggestion to our design team, really thanks for your help on improving our product!

Contributor

@Gorden_Lin Glad to have helped, I'm sorry if I sound harsh at times, but this forum is not very practical and I have yet to understand what's the best way to provide feeback between making a new post or posting under the Beta release posts

Microsoft

not really at all, @SOI_7 , we have best beta testers in the world who provide candid and helpful feedback, Microsoft Community is not mobile friendly which make providing feedback not as easy as we used to have in G+. but we are getting better shape and more focused group. thanks for the feedback and we will check out the separate channel frequently as well. 

Senior Member

Screenshot_20190426-122111.png

El fondo del cajón de aplicaciones ocultas debería de esta difuminado, pues con ciertos fondos se pierden los iconos. The bottom of the drawer of hidden applications should be blurred, because with certain backgrounds the icons are lost.

Occasional Contributor

@Gorden_Lin I've recently been having issues moving icons on my home screen, with it being way too sensitive. If I click and hold an icon to get the pop-up menu, it instead jumps immediately to moving the icon. I think if I could touch one exact pixel and just hold that one, the menu would appear properly, but that's not practical on my LG G4 with relatively high resolution. In addition, trying to drag an icon into an existing folder on the home screen is also tricky, there is a very tiny area where I can get it to actually add to the folder instead of moving it around. I just spent maybe 60 seconds trying to get it to happen before I finally got it. 

 

FYI I'm a relatively new participant in the Launcher Beta - I joined the program maybe a month ago, but only just found this forum to give feedback. If there's a better place to do this please let me know! 

Contributor

ABSOLUTELY YES. REMOVE HIDEOUS ROBOTO. Segoe UI is elegant. Be Microsoft. Don't turn into a Google Clone. Come on!

 

The Material oval search boxes, etc, and non-square corners that are cropping up in Microsoft's UI are HIDEOUS. Stay SHARP. FYI just port Windows Phone 8's UI to Microsoft Launcher. If you stick with Widgets, add a Live Tile Widget, and an All Apps app drawer, with the Index feature when you tap on a letter.

 

Currently Microsoft Launcher is useful, but it's Lame Duck without these mentioned elements.

Microsoft

@Nukmicah , what's your version of Launcher? are you on 5.5 Beta? we fixed several similar issues in the latest beta. and btw, what's your grid size of home screen? 

Occasional Contributor

@Gorden_Lin I'm on the latest beta available through the Play store, which for me is 5.4.51076. I just manually checked for updates but none were found. Is there a way to manually trigger the 5.5 update so I can test for you?

 

My grid size is 5 columns, 6 rows, with the smallest icons and no text labels. The dock has one row collapsed, and expands to two rows, and matches spacing of the home screen. Expanding the dock is also a bit too sensitive, sometimes taking me more than one attempt expand the dock, as it's much more likely to open the app drawer instead. I can usually get it my second or third try though so that's less of an issue.

Microsoft

@Nukmicah , please send your email address to us through microsoftlauncherfb@microsoft.com so we can send a private build to you to validate. 

Occasional Contributor

@Gorden_LinThanks for the test build! It's an improvement for sure, but still lacking compared to (for example) the Google Now Launcher. I suggest you play with that and try to replicate the functionality. In particular I expect:

  • To open icon's pop-up menu, tap-and-hold (this is an advantage of Microsoft Launcher, the Google Now Launcher doesn't offer this function)
  • To move an icon, tap-and-hold then drag. Some type of preview should appear showing what will happen if you stop holding at any point
    • If dragged to an open spot, the icon just goes into that spot
    • As it's dragged between icons, the icon "pushes" other icons in the direction of the drag if possible (i.e. you can't push other icons off the screen). 
    • As it's pushing other icons, if it is dragged to a spot closely centered on top of where another icon (or folder) was, the icons that were pushed away jump back and are combined together into a single folder
  • Some hysteresis filtering
    • Filter out if I accidentally wiggle my finger as I let go of the screen
    • Make it relatively hard to drag to "a spot closely centered on top of where another icon was", but once I've made it that centered spot I should have to drag to a spot almost directly between two icons before the "pushing" function starts again
  • The "on top of icon" and "between two icons" spaces are determined by the grid size, not icon size (during my testing, it seemed like changing icon size did affect how icons moved though I could have been mistaken). So "between two icons" with very large icons might actually be on the left/right third of existing icons, for example.

By the way, I love this customization you offer which lets me minimize icon size and see more of my background image!

 

Also, the dock is still finicky. If I just do a "swipe up" on the dock to open it, it opens application I happened to start my swipe on. It should only open that application if I tap the icon, not if I swipe across it (some as if I'm swiping left/right to different screens, it doesn't matter if I start my swipe on an existing icon). 

Frequent Contributor

As I've written in a thread in the Issues section. for me it is very nearly impossible to drag-and-drop an app icon onto a folder to put the icon into the folder on the home screen. Very rarely and unexpectedly it works first time; but mostly I end up spending literally a minute or two repeatedly trying with the target folder bouncing away from the dragged app icon like it was a same magnetic pole being repelled before either it finally works when I'm just about to tear my hair out, or I give up and add the app from the opened folder's menu (then have to go and delete the app icon from the home screen). It is absolutely infuriating. Frankly, if moving app icons into folders on the home screen was still something I was doing every day I would give up on Microsoft Launcher and go to maybe Nova Launcher where I have no such bother. It is - for me on my phone - truly dreadful

 

Nukmicah's post above sounds like it's requesting adding apps to folders by drag-and-drop be made harder - hell no, it's virtually impossible ATM.

Contributor
After some days I have to report a bug I've faced: the searchbar in the home screen doesn't remember the shape I chose and it randomly returns rounded. Hard to tell what's triggering it, probably logins or home screen resumings
Microsoft

@DavidGB please send your email address to us through microsoftlauncherfb@microsoft.com so we can send a private build to you to validate, thanks!

Frequent Contributor

Email sent. Thanks.

Frequent Contributor

Er ... am I supposed to have received this 'private build'? I've got the 5.4.0.51082 from the Play Store yesterday, but nothing else.

Senior Member

Howdy team!

Just a quick one, is there any particular reason(s) why:

1) card pinned to a new page is not blurred like that of the app drawer's, glance, news and timeline cards?

2) no video is shown on the news card even when it appears on the news interest and is selected?

 

Microsoft

@eryzky thanks for the feedback, for the blur suggestion, I will FW to our design team, for the video issue, we are still piloting video streams in some certain countries and stay tuned, also will let our partner team know this and see if we need to hide this option before we fully support this categories. 

Microsoft

@DavidGB 51082 is not private build, it is a public beta build. Ann will send you a private build through email. 

Microsoft

@SOI_7 : I have FW your search bar settings bug to Bing Search team and they will take a look on that. 

Senior Member

@Gorden_Lin Okay...thanks!

 

Additionally, can the news card be focused on one's region especially one's COUNTRY like what Google Now does? There should be the option for the user to select news outlets for news contents instead language. I don't get to read any news from my country NIGERIA. This makes me to intermittently switch to Google Now for news contents. Kindly attend to this. 

Frequent Contributor

51083 seems better on the dragging an app icon to another app icon or folder to put the dragged app icon into a new or existing folder front (after writing which I now expect you to say nothing was done to that at all ....). I'm now managing to get a dragged app into a folder first or second time (sometimes with some wiggling the dragged app icon), and I would go as far as saying it is now ... liveable with.

 

However, I do not think that 'liveable with' is equal to acceptable for a product with Microsoft's name on it. But I will write a more detailed post about this in the 'Report an Issue' thread I started on this subject, as I think further work would be beyond the scope of a 5.4 release, which this thread is about.

Frequent Contributor

With respect to the post above mine, I'd also like more choice for the news card, especially being able to pick LOCAL news (after all, Cortana knows where I live ...) Having tried out adding a Google Discover feed page to Nova Launcher when I was running that briefly as a comparison again, I noticed that it was throwing in the main stories from usually sleepy old Wiltshire (when we're not getting Novichok attacks) where I live, not just the main UK political story headlines I get from the ML News card.

Microsoft

@DavidGB  I have sent you the private build, please try it, thanks!

Deleted
Not applicable
I want to join private build, Email sent, thanks :smiling_face_with_smiling_eyes:
Occasional Contributor

Team, here's my perspective as a diehard Windows phone user.  My wife and I refuse to give up our Lumia's until we can get at LEAST as good of a user experience on Android as we get on Windows phones.

1. Cortana is CRITICAL.  We have ALL our devices configured with Cortana ALWAYS ON.  We now rely on the ability to engage Cortana WITHOUT EVER TOUCHING OUR DEVICES even while locked.  We simply do NOT have that on Android.  I don't care at this point whether you augment Launcher or the standalone Cortana app, but you MUST get Cortana to be able to be interacted with 100% hands-free as an option.  Anything less is unacceptable.  There also should be NO difference in what the Cortana app does versus what Cortana can do in the Launcher.

2. One of the millions of reasons we hate Android compared to Windows phones is the ridiculously stupid way the menus work and the idiotic sea of icons.  Yes, yes, yes, I understand there are "tile launchers" out there.  But, good grief, YOU are developing Launcher.  You'd think that you could figure out a way to give us the same functionality as live tiles by now.  The fact is, there is no universe where I find the icon-based menus anything other than ugly and ancient, I don't care HOW you skin them.  And widgets are NOT the right answer, period.  Please figure out a way to bring the same functionality as live tiles and SOME way of having different sizes and arrangements.  Re-ordering stupid icons is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

3. Come up with a way for us to hide that stupid "drawer".  I have Launcher configured to minimize that stupid thing as much as possible and I have nothing in it.  I want the menu pages, period.

4. I second the motion to go back to Segue as the font.  

Occasional Contributor

@Robert WadeConcerning #3, you can disable the drawer under "Settings > Personalization > Dock".

 

Concerning the tiles vs. widgets, I've not personally developed an Android or Windows Phone app before, but my understanding is it's the individual app developer's job to make good widgets/live tiles. This isn't the Microsoft Launcher team's job, it's individual app developer's job to make better "widgets" that actually function as well as live tiles. My guess is that the "Launcher 10" app only has live tiles which that develop has specifically developed himself, and I'm sure there's apps which he doesn't support. See these two articles, which support my understanding of who develops widgets/live tiles:

https://developer.android.com/guide/topics/appwidgets/

http://www.geekchamp.com/articles/live-tiles-in-windows-phone-8-part-1-tile-templates

Visitor

I've had massive issues with microsoft launcher on a Huawei P20 Pro, I was wondering if this is an issue with the Huawei EMUI version of Android P or if it's something that can be fixed on the Microsoft Launcher. The animations and multitasking are a mess if I use the launcher as opposed to the default one.

Contributor
So, during Build 2019 Microsoft said they're going to bring Fluent Design across all their services, including Android, iOS and websites. ML team said that they're going to imbrace Material Design. I am extremely confused
New Contributor
@Gorden_Lin “Microsoft Community is not mobile friendly which make providing feedback not as easy as we used to have in G+.“ This! I haven't visited this community on a couple of months (despite having launcher issues) because it's so difficult to use on a phone.
Occasional Contributor

@Nukmicah Okay, so I've turned that off.  Sadly, there's no helping the tile situation unless Microsoft actually does something with that as part of the Launcher design. I hate icons, period.  The only information they are capable of showing is a stupid number of outstanding items.  And, what few apps actually have widgets, they are all crap compared to live tiles--how anyone actually likes using them amazes me.  Again, I don't see any way of helping that situation, either, because Android is incapable of DOING better, and developers aren't doing much with it anyway.  But the biggest issue, by far, for me is Cortana.  I MUST have 100% hands-free capability, regardless of what app is active and regardless of whether or not the device is locked.

Frequent Contributor

Where does one go to ask/report-an-issue about something to do with Your Phone on a Windows 10 laptop sending an SMS through my phone? I'm under the impression that the android end is spoemthing to do with Microsoft Launcher, but this is an issue at the Windows 10 your Phone end.

Microsoft

@hasanqureshi Thanks for your feedback! Could you please offer us more details about your issue? What happened with your multitasking and animations?

Microsoft

@DavidGB , Your phone / Your phone companion are also created by us, but in a different team, I will FW your ask to corresponding dev. 

Microsoft

@Officerbill thanks for the feedback, yes, we noticed this as well, tech community team is moving forward to get more invest on improving the user experience on mobile, while at the same time we are also evaluate other options. 

Microsoft

@hasanqureshi, which animation did not work on your Huawei phone? can you elaborate more? 

Visitor

@Ann_Yao_680 @Gorden_Lin . So the issues I'm getting are very similar to those demonstrated in this YouTube video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iXRerOv7EA

 

The main issues are the app animations when navigating to the home screen and Microsoft launcher not giving me options when i go into split screen mode. Some of the issues can be seen in the video. The ones in the video are with Nova Launcher so it seems other launchers also have the same issues, it's not just Microsoft Launcher. I'd just like to know if it's an issue with the launcher or it's Huawei's implementation of Android P and EMUI. Otherwise if it's not a launcher issue then I don't really know what can be done about it from your end apart from if you, as a part of Microsoft, could put pressure on Huawei to fix these issues for third party launchers like this one. I really love some of the Microsoft launcher features, but as a designer and developer myself, these animations are a big part of what i do and the fact that I have to deal with these on a flagship smartphone really pushed me away and makes me consider switching to the default launcher.

 

I've persisted so far with Microsoft Launcher just because i love that you can hide the text with each app icon and many of the other features available but every now and then i do try the default launcher just to see if they've updated it so i can get that seamless experience.

Frequent Contributor

Two UI annoyances for me:

 

A number of times each day, when I tap an app icon on the home screen to launch the app, or tap on a folder icon to open it, instead of launching the app or opening the folder, instead the home screen just jumps to the page to the left - i.e. I tap an icon on page three but instead of opening the app the launcher just jumps to page two, or if I'm on two it jumps to page 1, and if I'm on page 1, then it jumps to the Launcher Feed. It does not do this all the time, or even most taps, but it does it enough to happen many times a day and be very annoying. Unfortunately I haven't been able to pick out anything different in my tapping on the times this happens that might trigger this behaviours, so cannot get it to do it on demand or give a less vague bug report.

 

The second annoyance is when I'm in the news feed, have opened a story, but then want to go back to the news feed page. At the top of the page of an opened news story is a bar, with a left pointing arrow the left end, tapping which returns you to the feed - or at least is supposed to. At least 50 percent of the time it doesn't react to my tap and nothing at all happens, and often takes two, three, four, even five taps before it finally returns me to the news feed page.

 

While I do class these as 'annoyances' rather than fatal bugs, the fact that they do affect me every day, many times a day between them, disrupting the flow of what I'm doing, means that cumulative irritation will eventually reach a point where I switch to another launcher, like Nova Launcher with added Google Discover feed, which has not responded to a single tap in an unexpected and unwanted way in the time I've tried it.

Frequent Contributor

Thinking about it, I'd like to add something. There's what I said above, and also what I wrote in the extended post in the Report Issues section about dragging icons on the home screen to create new or add to folders - all part of the same general sloppiness in the UX that makes ML feel like an app coded by some teen in his/her bedroom, or a very early beta. And yes, I know this is the beta group and I'm currently running a beta version, but I have had these issues since day one loading the public release non-beta 5.2 from theGoogle Apps Store; the issues have been permanent whether beta or public release for me. And despite spending some time trying to figure out what triggers which behaviour, I haven't been able to. Using the Launcher is like playing roulette: I drag an app icon, and sometimes other apps bounce away from it while I drag but sometimes they don't; I tap an app or folder to open it, and sometimes it opens, but sometimes I'm just jumped a page left instead; I hold on an app icon to get the menu, and sometimes I get it, but sometimes nothing happens until I let go, and then the app launches instead as if I tapped on it; and I tap on the icon to go back from a news story page to the feed page, and it is a toss up whether it does go back or just does nothing. And it is all a mystery where I simply cannot divine the rules as to exactly what triggers which behaviour so I can get a consistent UI experience where I feel properly in control. This simply does not feel like a program in a fit release state from a major brand like Microsoft .... unless I missed something in the store page saying that this is supposed to be a game version of a launcher where a random number generator is used to determine the response to each user gesture.

 

Honestly, if I have to boil down my view on the Launcher and what the development priority should be to one thing it is this: above anything else, work at giving a consistent UX to the user, where the user can understand - or at least easily find a clearly written, easily comprehensible set of instructions - how it works, what to do to get the effect they want every time from every tap, hold and drag, and what not to do to avoid the effects they don't want for that tap, hold or drag. As it is, I am constantly on the edge of giving up with ML, teetering between wanting ML for the increased integration with my Windows 10 laptop (which I use far more than the phone), and the urge to switch to Nova Launcher where everything just works, and responses to taps, holds and drags are entirely predictable and under my control. At this point no new feature in ML is going to stop that teetering and make me commit to ML for good; a big improvement to the UX giving consistent response to taps, holds and drags would.

Occasional Contributor

I'll get straight to the bottom line for me.  I DESPISE Android/Google and I DESPISE Apple.  In my perfect world, BOTH those companies would cease to exist.  I simply cannot express in words how much I hate those companies and any software or service they provide.  I absolutely, with any reservation, LOVE Windows phones and that user experience.  The tiles, the ORIGINAL Metro UI, and, most of all, Cortana.  It sickens me beyond words that Microsoft never really got behind it (like SO many of their offerings) and let the people who incredibly love this idiotic "sea of icons" drive the train.  I am completely RELUCTANTLY migrating slowly to Android, only because A) Microsoft is incrementally turning off everything on Windows mobile devices and B) Microsoft SEEMS to be moving their play, albeit half-heartedly, to Android more and iOS.

 

So, with that said, I want AS MUCH of the Windows phone experience as I can possibly get on Android.  If I could completely remove all Google GARBAGE off the device, I'd do it in a heartbeat.  With that said, Microsoft, I NEED you to get MUCH more serious about providing a user experience that DIVORCES me from Google and Android native as much as possible.  If I'm to fully embrace this disgusting monstrosity, then I NEED you to bring as much integration and functionality from Windows as possible.  I don't care who you have to pay, I don't care who you have to anger, I don't care which bed you have to climb into.  I want Cortana AS functional in every way as it is on Windows phones.  If I'm forced to stare at a stupid sea of icons or wrestle with all these idiotic, incongruous and poorly designed widget all these so-called developer puke out, then I want a way to have them behave as much like live tiles did as possible--at LEAST with your own apps.  I should NOT have to enter my login credentials to EVERY FLIPPING APP OR SERVICE.  I should be able to set as default every possible Microsoft app or service and enter my credentials ONE TIME and have all your stuff KNOW this.

 

I can put up with glitchy performance, etc., as long as I can rely almost exclusively on Microsoft and a quasi-Windows experience instead of Google's garbage or even the 99% of crap third-party software that is part and parcel of the Android app library.

Microsoft

@DavidGB for the tap app goes to -1 page  issue, can you take a video so we can know more detail? and also will reset launcher help to fix this? 
and for the tap not always work for the back button of the news reading page, I'm working with the team to take a mitigation toward this. 

Microsoft

@DavidGB thanks for the feedback on the moving app and creating folder, there are still some cases we are not handling well. and we are fixing the issue around home screen, dock and app drawer incrementally, thanks for the report. 

Microsoft

@DavidGB , sorry for the inconvenience, about this issue:

 

"The second annoyance is when I'm in the news feed, have opened a story, but then want to go back to the news feed page. At the top of the page of an opened news story is a bar, with a left pointing arrow the left end, tapping which returns you to the feed - or at least is supposed to. At least 50 percent of the time it doesn't react to my tap and nothing at all happens, and often takes two, three, four, even five taps before it finally returns me to the news feed page."

 

Could you confirm if you enable "Open in Microsoft Edge" option in news settings page? TIA.