Update (10/12): The Android preview version of the Microsoft Edge web browser is now available for anyone to download from the Google Play Store. Keep in mind this app is technically labeled as “unreleased” so you might encounter some bugs while running it.
In addition, the renamed Microsoft Launcher for Android is no longer in closed beta and can be downloaded from the Google Play Store as well. If you still have the older Arrow launcher you will migrated to the new Microsoft Launcher app over time.
Original post (10/5): The Microsoft Edge web browser, which made its debut with the launch of Windows 10, is breaking out from its home and landing on Android and iOS. Microsoft made that somewhat surprising announcement today, and also revealed that it has renamed its older Arrow Launcher for Android, which first launched in 2015; it’s now called the Microsoft Launcher.
Microsoft is allowing members of its Windows Insider program the first shot at checking out the Edge browser for Android and iOS. Insiders can also get early builds of Windows 10 before they are released to the public. The good news is that anyone can be a member of the Windows Insiders program and you can sign up at Microsoft’s website.
Microsoft says that features included in Edge for Windows 10, such as Favorites, Reading List, New Tab Page, and Reading View, will be included in the Android version. Also, if you stop reading a page on the Android version of Edge, you can pick up right where you left off on your Windows 10 version of the browser. The first preview of Edge for Android will be released soon, but will be limited at first to US residents in English. Support for more countries and languages will be added later. Also, roaming passwords and support for Android tablets won’t be part of the first preview build.
Under its code name Spartan, Microsoft Edge was first released to the public as part of a Windows 10 Technical Preview build in March 2015, and it was given its official name in late April 2015. Microsoft created Edge as a clean break from its older Internet Explorer browser, and uses an all-new engine. Besides Windows 10, Edge is also available on Windows 10 Mobile and the Xbox One console. Bringing Edge to Android means it will compete with many other browsers, including Google’s own Chrome, Mozilla’s Firefox, and Opera.
The newly renamed Microsoft Launcher is currently available as a preview version for Android in the Google Play Store. It includes a top feed of news, your events for the day, your most used apps and more. It’s been made so that any work on your phone, such as writing a document, can be continued seemlessly on the PC via the launcher. It also comes with a number of background and color choices for customizing the look of the browser. Anyone signed up for the Arrow Launcher preview will automatically get access to the new Microsoft Launcher preview.
What do you think of Microsoft’s decision to bring Edge to Android, and will it be able to compete with the many other browsers that are available?