Microsoft has been operating a secret division within the company since 2009 called Microsoft Garage. It’s essentially an incubator of ideas, a program where employees are free to explore and build upon ideas that interest them – regardless of topic and often times, outside of the Windows and Windows Phone realm.
On Wednesday, Microsoft opened its Garage up to the world.
Microsoft Garage manager Jeff Ramos said the program is designed to really develop their experimental muscle as a company and helps them decide what to do moving forward. The Garage is just a really good fit with the culture change that new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is driving, he added.
The reason for going public with the Garage is to put the apps and programs that Microsoft staffers have created in the hands of real customers to evaluate how they’re being received. And as Ramos adds, from a customer’s point of view, it’s a really great way to get first access to emerging technologies.
Microsoft has highlighted a handful of the Garage apps on its website.
Next Lock Screen is an app for Android that brings information like calendar, missed calls, e-mail and more directly to the lock screen without having to unlock your phone.
Torque is an Android Wear app that aims to circumvent Google’s “OK Google” voice command on wearable devices. Instead, smartwatch wearers can simply twist their wrist to activate the mic and perform a voice search using Bing.
Voice Commander is described as a fast paced, space themed, voice activated real time and top-down shooter game for Xbox One. It uses a combination of controller input and voice input that can be played by up to eight people.
Feel free to head over to Microsoft’s Garage website to check out the full collection of apps and games.