Microsoft is highlighting the work of Garage, an internal initiative that encourages employees to work on experimental projects in their spare time, today with three Android-specific apps.
The first two, called Next Lock Screen and Journeys & Notes, are aimed at Android smartphones and tablets. The former is a lock screen replacement that includes a feed of calendar appointments and a quick app launcher that changes seamlessly depending on your location. If one of your diary entries is for a conference call, you can also swipe in to immediately dial the right number.
Journeys & Notes, meanwhile, is an app for “the space between an origin and a destination.” If that cryptic description has you baffled, here’s the deal: It’s Microsoft’s equivalent of Foursquare, although it prioritizes the journey itself, rather than checking in at your final destination. So if you frequently take the Eurostar from London to Paris, you can easily define your start point, end point and mode of transportation. Once you’ve checked in, the app offers a feed filed with notes and tips from people that have taken the same trip.
“Leave behind notes for your fellow travelers to discover, or stumble across the serendipitous gems of wisdom shared by others,” the app’s official site reads.
Microsoft’s third Garage project is an Android Wear app called Torque. Rather like the ‘shake-to-wake’ camera gesture offered with Motorola’s Moto X smartphones, you can use this app to quickly twist your wrist and start a new search query. Of course, Microsoft has swapped Google for Bing here, but it at least saves you from muttering “Ok Google” out in public.