As Microsoft continues to push its Outlook update features and addition capabilities into iOS and Android spaces (Siri and Cortana are officially in a cage match), it is investing a lot more time in making sure that those phone-wide apps look and perform like the best. We’ve seen several Outlook app changes as a result, but this latest is definitely one of the more interesting to occur in the past year: Mixing features from the acquisition of the Sunrise calendar into everyday Outlook tasks.
Let’s parse this down so it makes more sense. Sunrise was an app venture that helped link calendars to email and messaging information in a more lively, real-time way. Microsoft bought the company and used the design team to affect similar changes for a new versions of Windows 10 Outlook on mobile devices.
The result? Outlook now flows between your emails, calendar, messages, sent files, and contact more effortless, creating a continuum instead of a bunch of separate programs. The interface contains many more cues to spot important messages, times, and files. New features help out, too: Event invitations are marked on the message list so you can instantly see what emails are discussing an event. The mail button is now a more useful instant-refresh command that returns you to the top of your email list. Attachments for emails are more simple and “iOS”-like when it comes to attaching photos or files.
Of course, the Sunrise team also worked on the Calendar portion, too. The “Today” marker stays present and shifts dynamically for a visual representation of how much time you are dealing with. Event details have been streamlined and simplified, with attendees now color-coded according to their responses.
Android, meanwhile, will be receiving even more upgrades than iOS, with a “unified inbox” approach that quickly scans information and provides other interface improvements that give you more data at a glance.
All in all, it’s a welcome upgrade for Outlook, and is available for update on both iOS and Android devices. Sure, most of the updates are primarily visual, but it goes a long way in catching Outlook usability up with other mobile apps.