Microsoft is reportedly working on an email client update for desktop platforms, based on the company’s Outlook service. We now have a first look at the app in action.
Windows Central on Friday shared images of the Outlook email client being developed on Windows. Although Microsoft’s Outlook email service has offered Android and iPhone/iPad apps for years, there has never been a desktop app except for the Outlook app included in Microsoft Office and the Microsoft 365 subscription. This version of Outlook is more complex and is not available for free like the mobile apps.
The screenshots are almost identical to those of the Outlook web app, which likely confirms previous reports that the app is based on web-based technologies. There’s a tab bar on the left side with buttons for Mail, Calendar, Contacts, and some Microsoft services, as well as a columnar layout similar to Apple Mail and Gmail on Android and Android tablets. iPads. A few differences from the web application are however visible: a ribbon at the top of the screen can be configured to further enhance the classic Outlook application, and the search bar is integrated into the title bar of the window.
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It should be noted that this client is not supposed to replace the classic Outlook client for Mac and Windows, at least not anytime soon. Although Outlook.com can sync with multiple email accounts (or third-party accounts), like Gmail on the web and on mobile phones, there are options not available to advanced users who are not accessible in Outlook Web (on which this client is based).
We first heard about a possible Outlook.com desktop app in January 2021, when Windows Central reported that Microsoft was building a universal Outlook app for Mac and Windows. The app should also replace the Mail & Calendar apps on Windows 10 and 11, which is a bit of a mixed bag. It’s not great that Microsoft is replacing even more native Windows apps with a web app, given that it will likely need to stay in the background at all times to receive new messages – which could lead to greater usage memory than existing Outlook or Windows Mail applications. There’s also no sign of Microsoft’s “Fluent” design language that’s present on many Windows 11 apps, but the design might change before the final release.
The preview is already available for work and education accounts (download link), but it doesn’t work if you have a normal Microsoft account.