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The Next Lock Screen is targeted at users looking to maximise productivity. Its purpose is to show your notifications, give you shortcuts to apps depending on what you’re doing, and inform you of calendar events.

Google doesn’t think it makes sense for them to build apps for Windows Phone, given the small install base of that operating system — but Microsoft can’t ignore Android since it’s the world’s largest mobile operating system now. As you’d expect, Microsoft, a software giant, is making software for Android.

First up is this new lock screen replacement called the Next Lock Screen.

Is It Different From Existing Lock Screen Apps?

Next-Lock-Screen-conference-calls-app-shortcuts

Yes, it is. Sure, there are some great lock screen replacement apps for Android 3 Best Free Lockscreen Replacement Apps For Android 3 Best Free Lockscreen Replacement Apps For Android Calling all Android tinkerers! Are you tired of looking at the same, boring screen every time you wake up your phone from sleep? Why not customize it and breathe new life into your phone? Read More . But a few features make Next Lock Screen stand out:

  1. Next Lock Screen is made with professionals in mind. When you have a conference call scheduled in your phone’s calendar, you will get a notification. But here’s the cool part: swipe on the notification and you will automatically enter that con-call, as Next Lock Screen automatically gets the passcode from your event and dials it in.
  2. You get an app drawer at the bottom of the screen, with shortcuts to your favorite apps. Five apps are visible at all times, but pull up the drawer and that expands to 15. The list also includes tools like WiFi toggle, flashlight, rotation lock, and more. Tap “Edit apps and tools” to add or delete apps and tools, reorder them, and even choose to permanently hide a few apps in the Next Lock Screen settings menu. But you can only have a total of 15, so you’ll need to delete a few to make room for your favourites.
  3. These app drawers also have profiles. So you can set an “At Home” profile with apps you’ll use often there, and a separate “At Work” profile with your productivity tools. You have to manually change these profiles,  since Next Lock Screen doesn’t yet detect a new WiFi connection and automatically change.

Is It Better Than Existing Lock Screens?

Next-Lock-Screen-SMS-notifications-Apps-Tools

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“Better” is a strong word. It’s definitely useful and it’s different. But before you switch, you need to know a few things.

First, the SMS notifications are buggy. You have to toggle “show SMS content” in the settings to display the message on the lock screen. However, tapping it creates a message window with that contact; it doesn’t take you to that message directly.

Notifications are limited at the moment to email, text messages, calls, and calendar events. If someone messaged you on Facebook, you don’t see that on the lock screen. That’s a big miss, if you ask me.

Importantly, Next Lock Screen does not have a passcode or any security layer. This means you can’t really lock your phone and use security tips Improve Your Android Lock Screen Security With These 5 Tips Improve Your Android Lock Screen Security With These 5 Tips You're perhaps reading this thinking "hah, no thanks MakeUseOf, my Android is secured with a lock screen pattern – my phone is impregnable!" Read More . That could be a dealbreaker for some people.

Who Is It For, And Who Should Avoid It?

Ask yourself what’s the purpose of a lock screen for you, and you’ll get the answer.

If a lock screen is a hub for notifications across all your apps, then don’t download Next Lock Screen. For that, I’d recommend Echo Lockscreen to snooze and group notifications Snooze And Group Android Notifications With Echo Lockscreen Replacement Snooze And Group Android Notifications With Echo Lockscreen Replacement Want a better way to handle notifications on your Android device? Echo works as a lockscreen replacement and can group your notifications into categories and mute them based on time or your location. Read More .

If a lock screen is a heads-up display showing the most important updates (emails, texts, calls, calendar events) and a gateway to accessing your apps quickly, then download Next Lock Screen.

Download: Next Lock Screen (Free) from the Google Play Store

Note: Next Lock Screen is region-restricted, so if you can’t download it from the Play Store, download the APK from this XDA Developers Forum thread.

Has Google Beaten Microsoft?

The most interesting part about Next Lock Screen is not the app itself, but the fact that it has been made by Microsoft. Is this admission by the Redmond giant that it has lost to Google in the mobile wars? Are Windows Phone’s days numbered?

Will you be downloading Next Lock Screen? What could they do to improve it? Have your say in the comments below.

  1. Jomster McMonster
    March 8, 2015 at 10:36 am

    I believe the latest update addresses the issue of a PIN / Pattern.

  2. IT_Architect
    November 3, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    When you buy something from Apple or Android, there are certain expectations that go with it. When you buy something from Microsoft, people have a different set of expectations. Windows Phone does not run Windows, it runs Zune, a gaming operating system with phone added. That fits the expectations that go with Apple and Android, and Microsoft's tablets failed until they put real Windows on them. Now Microsoft tablets is what hospitals, doctors offices, and businesses are buying. They integrate perfectly with their Microsoft information system. The PC has a massively better API, development environment, productivity apps, vertical market apps, and even games than either Android or IOS. Corporations can lock down the phones centrally, check for them being up to date before connecting to the corporate network, install and update apps remotely, etc. As of fall of 2013, many regulatory agencies had demanded this, and only Microsoft can comply. Over the past year, large corporations have yanked the Android phones out of the hands of users and replaced them with iPhones for cost reasons. It isn't the cost of the phone that's the problem, it's the cost to support the flexibility that Android brings. Those same corporations will yank the iPhone out of users hands and replace it with a Windows phone the moment they put real Windows on a phone, and so will hospitals, doctors offices, attorneys, accountants, investment advisers, etc.

    Will Microsoft do it? People have been screaming at them the moment Steve Balmer dropped Windows Mobile, a pocket PC, in favor or Zune for their phones. When they went with Zune, all of their developers left for Android or the iPhone. Their market share dropped from major player to not even making the honorable mention list. Steve Balmer stated his greatest regret was his moves in the mobile market. My question to Microsoft is, can you hear us now?

  3. Shivam
    November 3, 2014 at 3:40 am

    It is a Microsoft garage product which pretty much like 20% time for your own work at Google. So it is what an employee or a group of employees must have created in their free time. So it is just a publicity stunt type of thing in my opinion.

  4. Arjun
    November 2, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    ur very smart in comparing a mobile os with a pc os, great job

    • Mihir Patkar
      November 2, 2014 at 4:29 pm

      Ummm where did I do that?

  5. Thomas
    November 1, 2014 at 2:05 am

    Windows is already a far superior operating system...so nothing to learn...if anything Google is already copying Microsoft live apps....even they know windows is far superior

  6. PlaGeRaN
    October 29, 2014 at 7:57 am

    my question is how buggy and how long have they worked on this, MS has a habit of rushing everything and screwing up everything.

    Also how much permission's are needed for their apps?

  7. Enrique
    October 28, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    I tried it and it's simple to use. Hopefully, they make it compatible with Google hangouts so I can start using it.

    • Mihir Patkar
      October 29, 2014 at 2:42 am

      Yeah, I don't see why you can't choose which apps it works with.

  8. Krayon
    October 28, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Office is on linux. Use the browser the same way you use google. It's called office online.

    • Mihir Patkar
      October 29, 2014 at 2:41 am

      Enh, I didn't think this warranted a clarification, but here goes: I want the offline Office suite on Linux.

  9. kayacore
    October 28, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Dashclock Extensions 2 years ago nuff said

    • Mihir Patkar
      October 28, 2014 at 10:42 am

      Awww, while accurate, a little mean :) Dashclock is definitely superior, but I do like those profile-based app launchers here. It's a nice touch

  10. J
    October 27, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    @joas, whereas Google do make apps for iOS. How many Apple apps do you see on Windows Phone?

  11. joas
    October 27, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    This only shows Microsoft is open minded and embrace all the OSes while google is close minded and is trying to destroy the competition by not making any services available to Windows Phone (they even stopped MS to build a functional youtube app). I hate those hypocrites

    • Mihir Patkar
      October 28, 2014 at 10:40 am

      I'll agree with you when I get Microsoft Office on Linux :D

  12. Rob
    October 27, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Looks promising but I think from the screenshots at least it would work better as a launcher not a lock screen. In my opinion a lock screen should have few buttons, be mostly clear. Maybe your next calendar appointment and a flashlight button. Keep it simple, if it turns on in your pocket you don't want it to open up a ton of apps.

    • Mihir Patkar
      October 28, 2014 at 10:40 am

      That's actually a pretty good idea, Rob. You're right, if this was a launcher, I could see myself using it more.

  13. Sourabh
    October 27, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    So basically L's lock screen with Aviate launcher idea. Sorry MicroSoft, try harder.

    • Mihir Patkar
      October 28, 2014 at 10:39 am

      Hahaha that's an apt way of putting it. It's a little different from that, and I like the profiles, but I'll stick with Aviate for now.

  14. Jason Cardiff
    October 27, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    Given that Microsoft gets a licensing fee for every Android phone sold, I'd hardly say that Google has "beaten" Microsoft, lol. There's a Remote Desktop Connection app for Android that MS built, too. Does that mean anything?

    • Mihir Patkar
      October 28, 2014 at 10:38 am

      IMO, licensing fee is peanuts for Google when they're getting a user hooked on their ecosystem. That's where the big bucks lie, as well as future customers.

    • Geoffrey
      October 28, 2014 at 1:02 pm

      In 2013 Google's earnings were primarily driven by Play Store revenue (rather than advertising). The store's total revenue was $1.3 Billion.
      We know that in 2013 Samsung alone paid Microsoft $1 billion for use of Android patents. Their total earnings were probably $2-2.5 billion. Those are some big peanuts.

  15. Rick
    October 27, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    Not available in my country... What kind of bullshit is this? It's a goddamn lockscreen!

    • Mihir Patkar
      October 28, 2014 at 10:37 am

      US and Canada-only right now. You can grab the APK from the XDA forum link in the article though :)

  16. Pravin
    October 27, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Yes, I installed it from XDA Forum.. I think MS is trying to show its Multi OS capability. I think it is very futile at current scenario.

    • Mihir Patkar
      October 28, 2014 at 10:37 am

      Microsoft has always been a software company first and foremost. In that sense, I agree that their best move is to keep making great apps for different platforms. I'm personally in favour of them forgetting about Windows Phone and concentrating on making great apps for Android and iOS.

  17. Muhammad Hamad
    October 27, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    Don't you think Microsoft is playing a bigger game and trying to understand the average Android business or productive user (if I may say it that way) and then make Windows Phone better to beat Android?

    • Mihir Patkar
      October 28, 2014 at 10:35 am

      Well, if that's the case, why not just look at all the things Android already has and use them in WP? I don't see how making a productivity-centric lock screen for Android benefits them over making a productivity-centric lock screen for WP. After all, the latter would actually give them a distinguishing feature from Android.

    • Muhammad Hamad
      October 28, 2014 at 11:01 am

      That would help them but if they want Android users to switch to WP then they need to make WP do things better than they are on Android and what better way to make things better by understanding what the scenario is

  18. Steve
    October 27, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    "Lock" screen. Its sole purpose is to lock your phone so you don't accidentally dial, open apps, call etc.

    • Mihir Patkar
      October 28, 2014 at 10:34 am

      Haha I do agree with you there. The fact that the notification actions are triggered with a tap instead of a swipe would mean inadvertent activation.

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