They’re in the App Store and Google Play now, though the Android version is technically a ‘preview’ build. Microsoft says once it gets enough feedback and makes the necessary tweaks it will deem it a final version, just as it did with Office for Android.
If you’ve used Accompli before, the new Outlook should look really familiar. That’s because Microsoft purchased Accompli and has re-engineered the app to take the place of its rather terrible Outlook Web App and Outlook.com Android app.
By the looks of it the best features are still there. For example, just like Google’s Inbox or Mailbox you can swipe away messages for archiving, deleting or later retrieval. However Outlook lets you customise these gestures instead of locking you into one system.
It also has a separate tab for calendars, people and files. You can view or attach to a message documents, images or anything stored in OneDrive, Google Drive or Dropbox. You can also send out calendar invites and check others’ availability, a key feature of using Outlook on the desktop.
The impact on you: If you have an Exchange account, or are always looking for ways to step up your productivity, this is definitely good news. Accompli was a great email alternative and Microsoft has done a good job of transforming it into what may be an email powerhouse.
Office 365 gets more compelling
A key driver of Microsoft’s new strategy is Office 365, which gives you subscriptions to Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps. But for businesses, the most important piece maybe be email and calendar services through Microsoft Exchange. Before today you’d have to plug in your email account on a mobile device to the stock app or a third-party offering on Android or iOS.
With its own Outlook app, Microsoft now makes a stronger case to convince businesses, schools or individuals to go with Office instead of Google Apps as their core productivity suite. With Outlook and Office for Android the company now has its core apps on the web with Office online, the desktop and the dominant mobile platforms.
No doubt Google is paying attention, so we’re likely to see a stepped-up productivity battle between the tech giants.