It’s been a busy couple of days for Microsoft Corp., what with the release of not one, but two of its flagship products for mobile.
Today, the Redmond, Wash.-based company announced it has rolled out Microsoft Office for Android, a definite boon for tablet users. But what’s been even more compelling is its announcement of the new Outlook app for iOS and Android, though the latter is still being presented as a preview.
In December 2014, Microsoft acquired Acompli, an email startup that automatically prioritizes users’ most important emails. For users who are constantly on the move, that can be helpful – after all, one of the difficulties about the email experience has been sorting through an inbox and trying to find only the most important messages.
This is essentially a rebrand of the Acompli app, with Outlook’s name and logo attached. However, whatever it is, it looks good, and it has some nifty features. First of all, the new Outlook app allows users to split their mail into two different tabs, dubbed Focused and Other. As you might have guessed, Focused is reserved for the most important emails, while Other is for pretty much everything else.
However, if users shift emails between Focused and Other, the Outlook app will take note and learn which emails are more likely to be prioritized over others. That’s based on the contacts sending those emails, for example.
Users can go even deeper with prioritizing their messages by customizing their gestures. Swiping right and left can allow users to archive, delete, or flag messages for later, but instead of needing to learn new gestures, users can decide for themselves what each gesture will do. They can also respond to emails later by scheduling a time to return to them, and they can even schedule meetings directly from within the app.
The best part of Outlook? It works across devices, but it also works for Office 365, Exchange, Outlook.com, iCloud, Gmail, and Yahoo! Mail, making it a very versatile app – and potentially an app that may prompt some users to get rid of their other ones.
Microsoft is by no means the first company to come up with an app promising to make email simpler. In October 2014, Google rolled out its own triage-friendly email app, which held a lot of appeal for Android users wanting something more efficient than the regular Gmail app.
We’ve also covered Citrix Systems Inc.’s WorxMail and WorxWeb apps, which aim to help business users be more productive with their email. With all of these types of email options, it’ll be interesting to see which one becomes business users’ app of choice – especially given the popularity of Outlook.