Our Newest Garage Project Just Might Be Your Favorite Lock Screen

Favorites Lock Screen, a Microsoft Garage project, is now available for Android in India. Favorites Lock Screen is a lock screen app built around fans and the celebrities and interests they care about.

It’s also our fourth lock screen project in as many years. Here’s why we’re fans of the overlap.

Curious…Another Lock Screen?

Since releasing its first batch of projects in October 2014, the Garage has launched dozens of projects spanning a wide variety of technologies, platforms and target customers, including four lock screens. There was Next Lock Screen, an Android locker released in the original batch. Alongside it, there was Tetra Lock Screen, a lock screen for Windows Phone. And finally there was Picturesque Lock Screen, another Android app.

This begs the questions why so many? What’s going on with all these lock screens?

At first blush, this may appear to reflect an accidental oversaturation of a category, or conversely, a more strategic and orchestrated effort. But there’s no conductor here; instead this fourth lock screen launch illustrates one of the philosophies of the Garage at play: empowering employees to pursue innovation by testing what they think will deliver the most value to customers.

A Space Comfortable with Independent Approaches

The Garage is Microsoft’s official experimental outlet, the place any employee can come to test an idea. To truly empower employees, we’ve built a space that’s grounded in a comfort with independent approaches, and we support employees whose projects blend a collection of new hypotheses and best practices to get more focused on what customers want.

Each of the lock screen Garage project teams have designed their apps for different types of users by lighting up very different value propositions. Next Lock Screen leverages intelligence to help people on-the-go be more productive, presenting them with the notifications that matter most, while Tetra Lock Screen, now sunset, placed maps at the forefront of the user experience.

Even more striking are the seeming similarities between Picturesque Lock Screen and Favorites Lock Screen. Not only do both focus on providing beautiful, interesting images, but they were both developed steps apart in the Microsoft India Development Center, a hub for incubation projects. The Hyderabad-based Picturesque Lock Screen provides users with a beautiful daily image from the Bing home page, but the Favorites Lock Screen team wanted to explore another, more personalized angle.

“Even though the Picturesque team already had a great lock screen app available in India, we wanted to try something different,” says Pavan Kumar Desari, a Program Manager on the Favorites Lock Screen team. “We wanted to build a lock screen focused on fandom, not just beautiful images. Our app allows people to craft a more personalized experience centered around their passions and interests.”

From a more traditional mindset, these project teams may have needed to reconcile their different visions into one, more generic product. With the Garage, they are empowered to let their different approaches flourish or fail fast, giving customers more choice and the teams more user feedback. Market signals can help the teams understand what customers appreciate most, allowing them to pivot and tweak their projects over time.

When you empower employees with the autonomy to experiment with new, even conflicting ideas, the result is greater curiosity, innovation, and customer obsession.

We invite you to check out Favorites Lock Screen to see if this is the right lock screen for you: get the app in India.