It was not that long ago when it would have been considered a big faux pas to demo a Microsoft product or service on an Android or iOS device during a Microsoft product announcement -- never mind a keynote stage during service demos.
Now it is quite the norm to see the Redmond company with an iPad, Android device, or an iPhone to highlight how their offerings work in the mobile-first, compute-everywhere world. The watershed day was probably when Microsoft appeared on stage at an Apple product launch to demo Office for iOS.
Today there are over 100 apps listed in the Google Play Store that have been published by Microsoft. It is a similar story over in Apple's App Store with nearly 100 apps for iOS and almost 70 for iPad listed for download.
As the world of Windows Mobile declined over the last few years, many users have migrated to one of the two big ecosystems - Apple or Android - and Microsoft recognized this and decided they would be getting their products and services to their customers on those devices.
Subsequently, that is why both of those other app stores are jammed full of Microsoft apps.
I have tested Android phones off and on for a few years and made the move to the platform on a permanent basis early in 2016. I started with the LG Nexus 5X and this year upgraded to the Samsung Galaxy S8.
There is no doubt that Windows Mobile and Windows Phone fans have been left holding a steadily shrinking bag of apps and compatible handsets, especially with the recent expiration of support for Windows Phone 8.1. It is no wonder that more are choosing to make a platform move.
The best aspect of making a move though is the plethora of apps for Microsoft products and services that are available now and often even before those arrive on Microsoft platforms.
On the Samsung Galaxy S8, I can install enough Microsoft apps to fill the entire screen and then some however, there are several apps that I use daily from Microsoft and I wanted to share those with you here to compare to what you might also be using on Android or iOS.
This app connects me to all of my email accounts and associated calendars. Not only does it work with Outlook, Exchange, Live, MSN, and Hotmail accounts but you can also setup Gmail and Yahoo! accounts.
I try and use Two-Factor Authentication on every service I access regularly. This app allows me to add most any compatible service manually or by scanning a QR code. I do wish it would do the pop-up notifications for more accounts but still, this gives me a lot of flexibility when it comes to 2FA.
This app is Microsoft's replacement for Wunderslist, a task management app built by 6Wunderkinder a company they acquired two years ago, and while it is still a work in progress it has become my daily driver for my task list.
As a member of the Microsoft ecosystem, I am heavily integrated with Cortana across all of my devices and the Android version of Cortana allows me to push mobile notifications such as missed calls, texts, and low battery notifications to my Windows 10 based devices. One other benefit that the Android version has compared to iPhone is the ability to reply directly to text messages from the Action Center on Windows 10. One last thing, Cortana can now be placed on the Android Lock Screen for quick access to information.
Of course, as part of the heavy investment in the Microsoft ecosystem I also use OneDrive for my cloud storage solution. This app on Android will send any camera roll and screenshot images to their respective folders on OneDrive which is very handy for anyone and especially for someone like myself that uses a lot of screenshots and product images.
Skype and Yammer
Communications is a daily occurrence for all of us and these are two apps I use for work and personal situations. Having them available on my handset which is always with me helps me avoid missing important communications.
Having quick access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote when I am without a laptop helps in real crunch situations. I am not sure I would ever create an Office document on a mobile device with the on-screen keyboard but being able to read these documents from colleagues on the go is the biggest benefit of these apps. Of course, OneNote is my catch all app so being able to send a link to it anytime of the days is a huge plus.
I could keep on going with this list as I have not even mentioned the companies Arrow Launcher (my default launcher), Xbox, Mixer, or Groove Music apps yet but I think you get the idea.
Microsoft is heavily invested in delivering these products and services to their customers no matter the platform. So if you need to make the move from your trusty Windows Phone 8.1 or Windows 10 Mobile device there is at least a safety net of sorts lined with Microsoft apps on either Android or iOS to catch you and help soften the fall.