Microsoft Garage, the public lab where the company's employees share experimental ideas, has cooked up a new lock screen for Android.
Picturesque Lock Screen is designed for Android only and presents Bing's home page imagery from the last six days on the Android lock screen. The free app also includes weather updates, support for notifications, the latest news, and a search feature that lets users search Bing without ever leaving the lock screen.
is home to a wide range of apps for Android devices, intriguingly so for the company behind the rival, but much less widely used, Windows Phone operating system. The Garage Workbench lists everything from apps that help users report potholes to programs that integrate with Google's wearable operating system Android Wear. All of the apps are free, including this latest launch.
Picturesque Lock Screen is a not-so-subtle effort to steal some attention from Google earch. Android users will find a wide variety of Google services in the operating system, including a multitude of ways to access Google's cloud offerings and perform searches. By putting Bing on the lock screen, Microsoft might be hoping that it can snag some easy, quick searches for those who don't want to unlock their device to go to Google.
All of that, however, is predicated on users actually downloading Picturesque Lock Screen. The app is currently available in the Google Play marketplace and has earned somewhat positive reviews, so far scoring 3.6 stars out of five from 232 people. Interestingly, Google Play says that the app has tallied only between 10 and 50 installs, so it appears at least some people haven't tried it out before reviewing it.
Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.