Microsoft launches Android Outlook Web App for Office 365 and Exchange

Microsoft launches Android Outlook Web App for Office 365 and Exchange

Summary: Microsoft has brought OWA for Android up to par with Windows Phone and iOS.

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Microsoft has unveiled an Android version of Outlook Web App (OWA) for business editions of Office 365 and Exchange.

The OWA app for Android follows last year's launch of OWA for the iPhone and iPad and will mean that Android owners gain earlier access to new Exchange features, including the slew that Microsoft announced at this week's Exchange conference. OWA offers email, contact and calendar features for Office 365 subscribers.

"We know that nearly half of emails are now first seen on the phone. So it's clear that phone is becoming the primary screen for communications… On iPhone and iPad, we released the OWA app last year. And today we announced that we will be releasing the OWA app for Android as our latest step in that journey," Microsoft wrote on its Office blog on Monday.

One of those new OWA features in Office 365 is codenamed Clutter, which promises to separate important email from the tons of junk that often fill inboxes.

Clutter, which will probably renamed when it is released, uses Microsoft's machine learning techniques to look for indicators that reveal the importance of certain email messages or senders.

"For example, if you completely ignored Juan's email about his recent vacation pictures, that message was likely unimportant to you – ie, clutter.  On the other hand, if you both read and responded to Cathy's email about her new budget proposal, that message was likely important to you – ie, not clutter," Microsoft said.

Similar to Google's inbox-clearing efforts in Gmail, Clutter in OWA will push important email to the top and drop the less interesting stuff to the footer of the inbox. The user can also tag clutter items as non-clutter if they choose, to make sure similar stuff doesn't get sidelined in future. They'll also be able to delete all clutter email in a single click.

OWA will also be more tightly integrated with OneDrive for Business (formerly known as SkyDrive Pro), giving users the ability to share files between Microsoft's cloud storage and the OWA app as an email attachment.

This includes uploading a file from a device to OneDrive and sending it as a link in an email and attaching a file in an email through OWA directly from OneDrive. Microsoft is keeping the look and feel of files sent either way similar but will use a cloud icon to indicate when the file is being sent as a OneDrive download.

Microsoft is also polishing up group collaboration, which will support real-time co-authoring on Office Online documents stored in One Drive and can be viewed alongside the OWA app.

Finally, Microsoft will use Yammer-inspired groups lists within OWA to bring better collaboration across the Office suite.

"Both Outlook Web App and Yammer show the same conversations for the same groups. This means however you prefer to work – whether you live only in email, only in Yammer, or both — you can participate in the group. We're creating a collaboration tool that will allow everyone in your organization to work more closely together, in their preferred manner," Microsoft said.

Read more on Outlook

Topics: Enterprise Software, Collaboration, Microsoft, Mobility

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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4 comments
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  • owa comes handy

    When your organization takes time to let your device talk to their O365 email. OWA doesn't need authorization for BYOD for email saga
    Ram U
  • Skydrive Pro

    I have a laptop that I installed Office 2013 Pro including Skydrive Pro from a retail CD. Does this qualify me to use the Outlook android app on my smartphone or are 365 users the only ones qualified?

    Thanks.
    dhamilt01@...
    • You don't have to have Office 365 for OWA

      n/t
      Ram U
  • Outlook

    I have hated Outlook for most of my adult life, but I have to admit that many of the innovation it has introduced over the past few years (integration with Office apps, OneNote, OWA, etc.) has changed my thinking. It has really emerged as the integrator of my professional (and much of my personal) life. When I owned an Android phone, I tried to get used to Google's calendar functionality but found it very wanting. Outlook has delivered everything I could want and caused me to rethink some of the fundamentals of how I use calendar, scheduling and task-level functions. It really has few equals.
    Njia1