Sprightly And Kaizala, Android Business Apps From Microsoft

Microsoft is changing it’s spots — and how!

There’s absolutely no one in the world who can deny the impact that Microsoft has had on computing over the last three decades.

It’s not been about Windows alone.

Launched way back in 1990, Microsoft Office, with its insuperable triumvirate of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint as the three pivotal stars, has become the bedrock software for business and personal use alike. Remarkably, competition has just never been able to put out anything remotely effective or popular as Office.

Android, the most-used smartphone operating system (OS) with millions of apps, a lot of which are designed for business purposes, too, could not yield a decent challenger. Many tried. But mostly ended up mimicking the features of the MS trio, and none was able to replace the Optimus Prime of the software world.

Imagine… what if the two could be brought together — the largest software manufacturer, and the largest customer platform of current day.

That’s exactly what just happened.

With Microsoft Lumia sales having reportedly dropped and the Windows phones not being as successful in the smartphone market as Microsoft would have wanted, Microsoft seems to have changed its focus and has started including itself in smartphone users’ lives via platforms rather than just desktop operating systems.

Embedded deep in the Microsoft ecosystem, is their own projects lab. Titled Garage, it develops new ideas, technologies and platforms borne of small work-bench projects, tests them rigorously and transforms them into reality.

As the battleground shifted to mobile devices, opening up a new arena of opportunity for developers large and small, to try and establish alternatives for Office, Microsoft shifted it’s own focus to catapult some Garage projects into mainstream usage.

Microsoft recently launched two business apps Sprightly and Kaizala for Android handsets. Both are are now available on Google Play Store for free!

Sprightly is an app to help users create promotional content (flyers, brochures, catalogs etc.) for their businesses and do it really quickly.
 So its like a Digital Media agency in your phone. You can describe your business’ products in a catalog, share price lists with buyers and share content on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp etc.

Keeping in mind that for a large part of the mobile users, their smart devices have become the primary devices when accessing or generating data for their businesses while on the move, Sprightly, the digital content creator seems to be the Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s Pages app or even Canva for iPads (that hit iOS App Store some months back).

Sprightly comes from the Mobile Only Team based out of Hyderabad. Surprisingly the app is not available on the Windows store (maybe with the MS Office integration, they do not need it) and is available for Android 4.4+ on the Google Store.

The second app, Kaizala, a seemingly messaging app helps you get your work done by tracking bills, jobs, team members, sharing your own location and lots more.

On the sharing front, it focuses on making sharing easier — attachments, create and assign tasks and keep better track of them. It also lets you capture availability by requesting and sharing future dates.

The key attribute differentiating Kaizala from similar apps is the ability to engage all involved in a chat like ecosystem. The app only needs to be installed on your (and your colleagues’ mobile devices) and you’re all ready to go.

This is of course a part of Microsoft’s expansion into a planet full of Android devices, something that it has been up to quite diligently of late. It’s already swung deals to have Office and OneDrive pre-installed on some Android phones; bought out a very very nice email app called Accompli and rechristened it as Outlook (after Microsoft’s world beating desktop email application), launched a reworked Skype app.

With this slew of apps for Android devices, Microsoft is clearly working to stake dominance in the mobile device ecosystem too, like it successfully did in personal computers about two decades ago.

Yet, Android is not the only operating system whose customer base Microsoft has an eye on… It has also been delving into Apple’s iOS base, especially with Cortana — Microsoft’s very own personal assistant (that has proven to be a strategic advantage to the company ever since it was launched on Windows Phone).

We tested Cortana and found it to be mindbogglingly good, and clearly in direct competition with Apple’s Siri. While the functionality of Cortana on iOS devices is limited for now, its only a matter of time.

We all should just wait and watch where that goes.

Originally published at Chip-Monks.