A Future Focused on Mobile Application Growth
Just within the past few weeks, there have been some pretty substantial updates to Microsoft’s Outlook mobile app for Android users and more are on the way. With over 100M installations registered on the Play Store, and a 4.4 star rating to match. Outlook for Android is experiencing a lot of growth that doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.
Though the year has just begun, it appears there is a lot in Outlook’s future on Android platforms. We’ve collected a few of the major changes that have occurred over the past few months, and some that have yet to come to give a glimpse as to what’s changing in the email app and why you should consider utilizing Outlook Mobile in your mobile business strategy.
Always Updating with the User in Mind
With the understanding of how many businesses and enterprises utilize Office 365 as a part of their company infrastructure, Outlook for Android is constantly introducing and improving features with the intent to improve user friendliness and provide better function. With an ever growing use of mobile devices for business application, having easy-to-use, reliable applications is critical both to maintain existing users, and bring new ones in.
Some of the recent changes have been updates to existing features, though others that are to come are going to be brand new to the application.
The Introduction of Actionable Messages
In October of 2019, Microsoft rolled out Actionable Messages for Outlook Mobile.
What are Actionable Messages?
They are features that allow users to complete Office-related tasks directly from ant outlook email. This means being able to interact with shared documents and other tasks without having to leave the app and utilize another.
For companies and operations that work primarily with Office 365, this allows for further streamlining, and the ability to pass and edit information quickly between one another all from the convenience of one application. This feature also allows for the ability to approve or decline certain approvals and invitations within the outlook app, or through use of push notifications further streamlining the process on mobile.
Improving Do Not Disturb Mode
A Do Not Disturb mode is important for any business email. Especially when days are busy with meetings, or during vacations, being able to not have to worry about incoming notifications.
Outlook Mobile for Androids now allows users to customize a variety of features regarding how they wish to use DND to better organize their alerts. This includes options for days, evenings, and weekends, as well as being able to tweak what specific hours you are and are not available so that you can tailor when and how you receive notifications during your work hours, as well as when not to when you are out of the office or off the clock.
Updates to Calendar and Event Invite Functionality
Accurate and current calendar information is an always important part of any successful business. Knowing when deadlines, meetings, and other events are can help keep people on task and allow them to prepare for what is coming. On the go this becomes even more important as oftentimes the calendar becomes an integral part of daily operations.
Outlook for Android has provided updates to allow for better calendar usage. You can now quickly add email invitations as well as other event attachments to Outlook calendars. These include iCS attachment support, and with other calendar features means that you’re never out of touch with what is going on in your work.
Better Safety for a Safer Internet
Hackers and other digital attackers are always looking for new ways to steal users login credentials, personal details, and other sensitive data. Because of this, it has become increasingly important for users to practice safe tactics and exercise caution to ensure that their information is protected.
Phishing is a common, insidious method that hackers use to steal important information via email, text, or instant messages by trying to get people to reveal said information, or use bad links disguised as reputable ones to compromise security.
One of the upcoming updates for Outlook Mobile is allowing users to take action against these kinds of messages. Microsoft has introduced the ability to report phishing messages and other suspected emails. This will enable Microsoft to take action to prevent further outreach by these malicious emails and make Outlook a safer place not just for you, but for all users.
Advancements in Voice with Cortana
Digital Personal Assistants are becoming more advanced year by year, and their usage has been growing steadily since their initial release. As things like voice search and other vocal features become more commonplace, other usages for voice functionality in our lives.
Microsoft’s Cortana is their virtual assistant and is coming this spring to Outlook for Android. Its integration is coming with a variety of convenience features which includes:
- “Play My Emails” which will allow Cortana to read emails aloud.
- The ability to read out and interact with calendar invites.
- Flag or archive emails while listening to them.
- Masculine or feminine voice options with Neural Text to Speech capability.
- And further Office integration to come.
Microsoft is trying to utilize Cortana as a tool or skill that better enhances user experience across the Office suite but is working carefully to ensure that any integrations are done to the betterment of its users. With virtual assistants looking to be here to stay however, it’s not a far stretch to say that Cortana will only become a larger part of Office as time continues.
Building with Businesses in Mind
Though it passed that 100 million benchmark, Outlook for Android has a long way to go to catch up with competing software like Gmail, which comes preinstalled on most android phones. With its focus on providing a better service to businesses however, Microsoft looks to be targeting a more specific demographic rather than just a general one as with most email services.
With an undeniable usefulness, and constantly improving features, Outlook for Android looks to have a lot to offer for businesses using Office 365 that are on the go. With the year ahead, it is going to be a service to watch for any company looking to take advantage of mobile office applications.