Does the new Outlook app reveal a new approach from Microsoft?

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Last week, Microsoft unveiled a new app for its Outlook email service which is available on Android and iOS smartphones and tablets.

The new Microsoft Outlook app offers a slick and easy to use interface and is pretty much an updated version of the Acompli email client, which Microsoft bought last year.

In addition to its smart design, the new Outlook app is a big improvement on the previous versions of Outlook on mobile and offers users a selection of innovative new functions.

The most notable of these is that the new Outlook app can be used with a number of other email services, including Gmail, iCloud and Yahoo! Mail, as well as a number of other major email providers.

A quick look at Outlook for iOS

 

The Outlook app also lets you attach files via cloud storage services such as Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft’s One Drive.

The app offers a useful calendar function which can be accessed at the same time as email, meaning for example, you can easily check your schedule without having to leave your inbox. There is also a handy tool for for searching through emails, filtering emails, unsubscribing or marking things as spam.

The way you can also quickly archive and schedule emails is similar to the way Mailbox and Google’s Inbox deals with email and for those who aren’t doing so already is perhaps a sign of how we’ll all be handling our emails in the near future.

Aside from being a well designed, easy to use email app, this new version of Outlook has perhaps heralded the start of a shift in opinion about Microsoft from it being a has been tech company to one that is finally getting up to speed, especially with regards to using Microsoft products on mobile devices.

Until we fully see what kind of mobile experience Windows 10 will offer users,  the new Outlook app is arguably the best example of the “cloud first, mobile first” strategy which Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella had previously identified as a way in which to keep the brand relevant in the mobile market place, which is of course currently dominated by Android and iOS.

Microsoft outlook app

Bold claims by Microsoft but they might just be right

 

And whilst critics may say the Outlook app is just a revamped version of Acompli, that isn’t exactly a bad thing, and perhaps reveals something more about the way in which Microsoft will offer products in the future.

Rather than it all just being about Windows, Windows, Windows, if Microsoft is to successfully gain ground on Android and iOS, it will need to offer its users a greater experience on mobile and will need more cross platform services, like the Outlook app,  to be available on the two dominant mobile platforms: Android and iOS.

If this is indeed a new approach from Microsoft, then the early indications are good. Since its release, the new Outlook app has been on the receiving end of lots of positivity from both the tech media and users alike.

In an article about the new Outlook app, popular tech site The Verge, said: “the best Gmail app…is now made by Microsoft,” whilst the Daily Dot told us why we’ll love the new Outlook app.

Yahoo! Tech, whilst not going overboard on the superlatives said the Outlook app was “better than you think” as the Times of India described it as “better than Gmail”.

Then came the news that the Outlook app had been such a hit in the days after its release that it had overtaken Gmail for number of downloads in the App Store.

Personally, I like using Mailbox for my emails and while Microsoft’s latest offering isn’t enough for me to make the switch (purely personal choice), there are certainly plenty of things to like about the new Outlook app.

If you use Gmail, but don’t like its mobile app, Outlook is well worth looking at and a good alternative to pretty much any email app out there currently.

Download on Android

Download on iOS

If you are using the new Outlook app, let me know what you think of it so far in the comments below.

I’d also be interested to know how you think it compares to Gmail and other popular email services.

 

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1 Comment

  1. James Baker on

    I’m sure the author is aware that Outlook has been able to get gmail and yahoo mail etc. for a long time. I used Outlook 2007 for that and now use 2010, and friends do it with 2013. It just has to be set up as an imap account rather than smtp.

    I switched to gmail after a move where I lost my ISP and therefore my main email account and gmail and other web mails are portable.

    The new features sound good.