One of the nice features of Android is the ease with which it can be customised. Every iPhone looks the same, apart from the wallpaper image, but Android users can add lock screen apps that appear when the phone is woken up. Microsoft has an interesting lock screen app that is simple, but effective. You might think it odd that Microsoft has produced an Android app, but the company actually has quite a lot and some are really good, like Next.
Next Lock Screen is designed to show notifications and provide access to commonly used functions. At the top of the lock screen is a large clock and below this is the date, a mini weather forecast, and your location. It is odd having the location and it is hard to imagine not knowing where you are. The time and the date are useful though.
Tap the weather forecast, which is bit tricky because of its small size, and a larger weather forecast is displayed. It shows a mini summary of the weather today, tomorrow and the day after that. It is a nice feature that saves you having to unlock the phone to get a weather report from whatever other apps you have.
The centre of the lock screen is used to display information from various sources such as missed phone calls, messages, and calendar appointments. The notifications look good and with phone calls and messages, you can see the name and photo, the start of the message and time elapsed since the event. With a missed call you can swipe the notification to the right to call the person back. Swipe it the other way and it is dismissed.
At the bottom of the lock screen is a tray of icons that provide access to commonly used apps. Pull up the tray and there are three rows of icons, but only the top row is visible by default. The tray contents is editable and all the apps can be moved, deleted or replaced by others. The third row of icons accesses phone functions like toggling a flash light, turning Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on/off and so on.
There is a menu at the top left of the tray with At Home, On the Go and At Work. This is used to access three different trays of apps and buttons. It enables you to have different collections of apps for different locations. The At Home app tray might contain YouTube, Spotify, Facebook and so on, the At Work tray could contain Calendar, OneNote, Contacts, and other apps you might use at work.
What would be really good is if it recognised your location and switched app trays automatically. I half expected it to do that, but it doesn’t appear to. Microsoft should definitely add that feature.
There are various customisation options in the settings and you can set the wallpaper image for each of the three locations – At Home, At Work and On the Go. You can choose to show missed calls, messages, music player controls, the weather, which calendars to use, and more.
Microsoft Next Lock Screen is a great app. I have tried several lock screen apps and this is my favourite so far.
Title: Next Lock Screen
Developer: Microsoft Corporation
Size: 6.2 MB
Android: 4.0 and up
- Written by Roland Waddilove
- Created: 06 February 2015