For those that have been waiting for Microsoft’s Outlook Web App for Android, it's here. Sort of. Microsoft, which flagged it at the Microsoft Exchange Conference (MEC) in March, finally announced a limited release, which it described as a precursor to a future full release.
The new app works pretty much the same as Outlook on Windows, offering users access to contacts, calendars and email. However, before you rush to download it from the Google Play store, keep in mind that it is only available to Office 365 users on business plans.
Those who are on home or personal plans don’t have access to the app. And it does not work with Outlook.com or on-premises versions of Exchange.
In fact, access to this pre-release — that’s how Microsoft is describing it — is so limited, it begs the question as to why Microsoft has bothered at all and what it is going to with the full release, whenever that may be.
However, according to Steve Chew, senior product marketing manager for Office 365, Microsoft will be “gathering feedback, fixing bugs and making sure the apps is ready for primetime.”
It is also being limited to a few devices to start with, but new device support will be offered and updated regularly. Those who are interested enough can contact team through a forum and suggests makes and models to be included in the test.
This is not the first Outlook Web App (OWA). There has been an OWA app for iPhone and iPad since July 2013, and this one offers the same functionality on Android. Some of the capabilities include:
- Organizing email quickly with Conversation View, with junk, flag, and category functions.
- Search or browse email in all folders
- Use inline apps for shipment tracking, Bing maps for addresses, and other great features.
You can also manage your schedules by the dates of meetings using attendee free/busy and room finder features, as well, of course, as sharing calendars.
To use the new app, though:
- Your device needs to run Android 4.4 Kit Kat or higher
- Your mailbox must be running on Office 365 for business (doesn’t include Office 365 personal, Office 365 Home or Outlook.com)
The spec also says that you can't use if unless your device size is considered “small” or “normal” by Android OS, which means it doesn’t work on tablets for the moment.
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