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Microsoft Spruces Up Outlook for iOS, Android Devices

Microsoft is rolling out user interface enhancements and other improvements to its Outlook apps for iOS and Android mobile devices.

Microsoft says the new improvements, announced Wednesday, are part of its goal to deliver a "true Outlook email experience to every mobile platform."

While an Outlook app will come preinstalled on Microsoft's forthcoming Windows 10 Mobile platform, that operating system is still at the preview stage right now. Wednesday's announcement shared no Outlook app news on that front.

Sunset on Sunrise
Microsoft has taken a very un-Microsoft route toward improving its Outlook apps for mobile devices. It has been buying up mobile app software startup companies and gradually replacing its own Outlook app product by incorporating the newly acquired solutions. Recent acquisitions along those lines include Sunrise Atelier (calendar app maker), Acompli (e-mail, calendar and contacts maker) and 6Wunderkinder (lists maker).

Along with the new iOS and Android Outlook app improvements, Microsoft announced that it will eventually cease producing the current Sunrise calendar app, which had continued after the acquisition. The timing when Microsoft will kill off that app is yet to be determined.

Microsoft will finally end the production of the Sunrise app after it has fully integrated Sunrise's technology into Outlook. That announcement perhaps comes as a surprise to the Sunrise team that joined Microsoft. They had claimed eight months ago that "Sunrise will remain free and available for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Android and Desktop -- we're not going anywhere."

iOS and Android Improvements
The iOS Outlook improvements include a clearer way to show invitations in the e-mail pane. An "RSVP" button is now located on the right side of the in-box for quicker responses. E-mail scrolling is improved. Users can scroll down their e-mail list, but they can also hit the "Mail" icon at any point to jump to the top of the list. Microsoft made file and photo attachments more accessible via a single click. The Calendar now shows today's date, and it will scroll as the user advances through different months in the Calendar. User responses to events scheduled in the Calendar are now color coded to reflect attendee availability.

The Android Outlook improvements include a more informative Calendar agenda view. Microsoft also made UI improvements to the Event, People and Contact lists.

The Outlook app improvements for iOS users will roll out as early as Wednesday. Improvements for Android devices will appear "in early November," according to Microsoft.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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