Microsoft Garage Apps
Microsoft Garage has become multi-OS incubator. Indeed, several apps developed by Microsoft employees involved in The Garage and Microsoft Research are available to general public. A number of those apps were built to work on Android, including a lock-screen app known as Next Lock Screen; a Bing search app for Android Wear called Torque; and a public-transit app known as Journeys & Notes. Many of these apps were designed from scratch for Android or even iOS, with Windows and Windows Phone nowhere in the picture.
The Garage started out in 2009 as part of Office Labs. It was first designed to enable employees to explore side projects. But today The Garage’s mission is to bring these kinds of side-project apps from other parts of the company, available externally. These apps are also available in the Apple App Store, Google Play and/or Windows Store, where applicable. And for Office, the most important of all the apps, the design team has a new approach which enables more code to be shared across Windows, Android, iOS and the web. These apps are all lightweight, single-scenario applications that have been conceived of and brought to market quickly.
The Garage incubation apps are all consumer-focused, within the productivity and leisure categories. Customer feedback will determine whether each app has a future after the experimental phase. These apps are available in various languages and in various markets depending on the audience and platform of every app. Some of them are available in various countries, such as the CityZen app, which is targeted toward citizens of Hyderabad, India (it may expand to other locations over time).
Thus Microsoft continues to embrace Android and iOS, turning internal hacking lab into full-blown apps factory. It seems that the company is seeking growth in applications and cloud services that target any client-side operating system. This new openness is seen in Microsoft Garage.
Let’s remind you that The Garage started in 2009 as an element of Office Labs. It was designed to encourage employees to experiment with new ideas and grassroots projects outside the processes and structures of official Microsoft R&D.
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