In early July, Microsoft officials said they were readying a smaller, faster "Outlook Lite" app for low-end Android devices. On August 1, Microsoft started rolling out Outlook Lite in a number of countries. The app is available as a free download from the Google Play Store.
"Outlook Lite brings the main features of Microsoft Outlook in a smaller-sized app with fast performance for lightweight devices on any network," including 2G and 3G ones, officials reiterated this week.
The Lite app includes access to emails, calendar, and contacts and is about 5 MB in download size. It is optimized to run fast on all Android devices -- including those with only 1 GB of RAM -- and is meant to use less battery power than regular Outlook. Outlook Lite currently supports Outlook.com, Hotmail, Live, MSN, Microsoft 365, and Microsoft Exchange Online accounts.
Microsoft is planning to add support for third-party accounts and multiple accounts "in the future," officials said.
Outlook Lite does not support Android Work Profile and Mobile Application Management (MAM) for work accounts. As a result, Microsoft is recommending business users who need these features continue using the existing mobile Outlook client for Android instead of the Lite version.
As of August 1, the app is available only in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, India, Mexico, Peru, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, and Venezuela. Officials said they will consider adding support for other countries in the future.
Some company watchers said Microsoft already had an Outlook Lite app in market in a number of countries. I've asked Microsoft if the app that's rolling out this week is an update to something that was already available. No word back so far.
Update (August 4): A spokesperson said that Outlook Lite is a brand-new app and denied that it had been in market before. "Outlook Lite has been available in Early Access mode for several months, but this week marks the official release to the public," the spokesperson said. He also said Microsoft "had nothing to share at this time" as to whether Outlook Lite was based on technology from an acquisition or any internal project.