Big day for Microsoft. First, the company launched the final version of Microsoft Office for Android. And now comes the missing piece of that mobile-office puzzle: Outlook for Android and iOS.
For those keeping score at home, this is actually Microsoft's rebranded version of Accompli, the e-mail app it acquired just last month. The iOS version is complete, but for the moment, Outlook for Android remains a preview edition. Most of what follows is based on the former.
Mobile Outlook delivers a smattering of features not found in stock e-mail apps (for either platform), starting with a "snooze" option (here called Schedule) that lets you temporarily remove a message from your inbox and resurface it at a later time.
You can activate this right from within your inbox view just by swiping an e-mail to the right. That brings up the Schedule selector, which provides four options: "In a few hours," "This evening," "Tomorrow morning," and "Choose a time." The first of these strikes me as unnecessarily vague, and it would be nice to have a couple more immediate choices, like "Half an hour" or "One hour."
Swiping left, of course, affords another quick-action option: Archive, by default, but you can customize both swipe settings for functions like Delete, Flag and Mark Unread. (Alas, you can assign only one function to either swipe; other email apps, including Apple's, give you more.)
Outlook also auto-sorts your mail into two main categories: Focused and Other. This works akin to Google's Priority Inbox, with all your "important" messages automatically grouped under the Focused heading, and everything else relegated to Other.
I particularly like the Quick Filter option: a single tap will show you only your Unread, Flagged or Files-included e-mail. Another great perk: a one-tap Unsubscribe link for newsletters and other semi-junk you no longer wish to receive.
Other Outlook amenities include support for adding attachments from one or more cloud accounts (Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, and so on) and availability and invitation options for scheduling meetings.
This is all good stuff, but there's one fairly large issue that may keep users away, at least for the moment: Although the app can pull e-mail from Exchange, Google, iCloud, Outlook.com and Yahoo accounts, it lacks IMAP support (though it's "coming soon," according to Microsoft).
Even so, there's an awful lot to like about Outlook for Android/iOS, even for users who don't use Outlook on the desktop or Web. It's definitely worth a look.