Windows Phone is dead. It’s been a long time coming, what with Microsoft’s mobile platform being born with the fatal defect of “Not Android or iOS Syndrome.” The Windows Phone had some noble ambitions, trying to fuse itself seamlessly with the PC version of Windows, but in the end it just didn’t get enough support. However, there are some things from the Windows Phone that are worth keeping, and luckily many of them are available in one form or another on Android.
Here are the tools and apps that will keep a piece of that Windows Phone magic alive, long after it’s gone to the great mobile market in the sky.
Launcher 8 WP Style
The name of this app may be all over the place, but don’t let that deter you if you’re looking for a convincing tile-based interface, harkening back to the “glory” days of Windows 8. While the tile stuff didn’t really work out on desktop, it works very nicely on touchscreens, and you get all the joys of changeable tile sizes, Windows theming, and live tiles as well, which dynamically flip over to let you know when someone’s trying to contact you or when you’ve received an email.
Alternatively, if you want to go a bit more contemporary, you could try SquareHome 2, which is perhaps a little more elegant than Launcher 8. The animations of the tiles are lovely, and app icons are integrated into the tile interface, rather than replaced with more generic icons. If you find the tiles a bit garish, you can add backgrounds and add transparency effects to the tiles, giving it a nice slick appearance. The tiles are live, and it also comes with its own Smart App Drawer which prioritizes your most-used apps.
If you use voice assistants, then you’ll be aware that they largely define your mobile experience. Google Now (or Google Assistant as it’s come to be known) is Android all over, and if you want to truly get that Windows Phone experience (with the perks of Android’s customizability and Play Store, of course), you need to get Microsoft’s digital assistant, Cortana. It has much the same functionality as Google Assistant, is regularly updated, and syncs up nicely with Windows, too.
Here’s our guide to replacing Google Now with Cortana on Android.
A.I. Type Keyboard
A.I. Type Keyboard isn’t specifically designed to recreate the Windows Phone feel, but it has so many customization options contained in it that you can do just that. A couple of the free themes in this app are “Windows 8 Tablet Theme” or “Windows Phone 7 Theme,” which accurately mimic the dark look of the keyboards found on Windows Phone devices. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a designer, you can even customize the existing theme to your liking!
The trifecta of Microsoft Office apps – Word, Excel and PowerPoint – came to Android a couple of years ago, and it’s safe to say that they’ve been a great success. The polished look and feel of these apps makes them the very best that you can get on Android, and frankly their wealth of features puts Android’s native office suite – Docs, Sheets and Slides – to shame. A real masterclass of app design, this suite shows that even though Microsoft has bowed out of the hardware game on Android, it has a bright future on the software front.
With this lot, you’ll be able to pay fitting tribute to Windows Phone using your Android device. There was a lot to be said for Windows Phone, but it really didn’t cut it in the apps department, so here you get the best of both worlds. Even if you’re not that into Windows Phone (hence you’re on Android), it’s fun to tweak things, right? So do give it a go.
Image credit: Windows Phone 8 with Windows 8