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Microsoft Buys Android Lockscreen Developer

A Microsoft executive recently confirmed that the company has purchased Double Labs Inc., a developer of lockscreens for Android devices.

Julie Larson-Green, Microsoft's chief experience officer, mentioned the acquisition to Business Insider in a report late last week. Microsoft's aim is to take "productivity to the next level" with Double Labs' Echo Notification Lockscreen, according to Larson-Green.

The lockscreen, for Android 4.3 systems and greater, provides notifications, a message organizing capability, a snooze function, music controls and security. It's a low-power app as the lockscreen has "no effect on your battery," according to the Google Play store description.

As noted in the Business Insider story, Microsoft makes its own lockscreen for Android systems called "Next Lock Screen." The Next Lock Screen is about equally rated with the Echo Notification Lockscreen.

Beyond the Business Insider account, there appears to be no purchase announcement by Microsoft. The terms apparently weren't disclosed.

Microsoft's plans for the Echo Notification Lockscreen are unclear. Larson-Green's comment about ramping up productivity appears to be the only explanation so far.

Larson-Green is tasked with usability and personalization issues in her role at Microsoft and was the driving force behind Microsoft's radical Windows 8 desktop redesign, which dispensed with Microsoft's traditional Start Button. The Start Button has since been reinstated in Windows 10.

Microsoft's Echo Notification Lockscreen purchase follows a recent trend in which the company has bought applications that seem to duplicate its own. For instance, in recent months Microsoft announced the purchase of list application builder 6Wunderkinder, mobile e-mail app builder Acompli and calendar app maker Sunrise Atelier. The latter two apps were folded into Outlook.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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