Microsoft now has two lock screen apps on Android. What’s next?
Sunrise, Wunderlist, and Acompli. They all have one thing in common: Microsoft acquired these companies at some point. Now, another startup has been added to the list. Microsoft secretly acquired the Double Labs, the startup behind the popular Echo Notification Lockscreen app for Android.
The financial details of the deal were not revealed. The acquisition, first reported by Business Insider, happened in August. Double Labs, Inc. was founded by Yin Yin Wu and Xuwen Cao, the same people who launched the Y Combinator-backed laundry startup, Prim. Unfortunately, the on-demand laundry pick-up and delivery business lasted only seven months.
The Palo Alto-based startup, which started in 2013, eventually found success by creating a nifty lock screen app for Android. The Echo Notification Lockscreen has around 1 million to 5 million downloads and 50,755 reviews as of this writing. Microsoft is planning to use the app to take productivity to the next level.
Many default lock screens on Apple, Android, and Windows Phone aren’t personalized and are just serving a list of alerts, says Julie Larson-Green, the Chief Experience Officer at Microsoft. "It's a list of what apps want you to know, not necessarily what's important to you," she tells Business Insider.
The question now is why buy an app that is available only on Android? Larson-Green says that Android is the perfect platform for rapid experimentation because it has many users. This gives Microsoft deeper access to analytics in addition to a wider user base. After all, it is Larson-Green’s job to find new ways for people to access information on mobile devices.
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The Echo Notification Lockscreen is the perfect starting point. Microsoft is expected to integrate the lock screen app to Windows 10 and other products. It’s worth noting that Microsoft also owns the Next Lock Screen app for Android, which was a Microsoft Garage project. However, Echo is more popular and has more reviews than Next.
Double Labs claims that Echo is the fastest and coolest lock screen on Android. The app’s features include instant notifications, music controls, automatic grouping of alerts, snoozing, pattern locks, minimalistic design, and capability to use wallpapers on the lock screen. It’s unclear if Microsoft will continue to make Echo available on Google Play.