Microsoft's Steve Chew, a senior product marketing manager in the Exchange group, said in an Office blog on Monday that Outlook Web App (OWA) is coming to Google's Android platform later this year. This app will provide the latest features, unlike the default email app on most smartphones that also works with Exchange.
"We're really excited to deliver these enhanced email and collaboration experiences in Outlook Web App and across mobile devices," he said in the blog. "We're bringing an entirely new way to think about email as a continued enabler to how people get work done whether in the office or on the go. Email is becoming more collaborative, more efficient, easier to manage and, yes, more social."
News of the Android client was part of a larger preview of what's to come in OWA for Office 365 later this year: "Clutter," enhanced document collaboration, and groups. The former "clutter" feature addresses the need for a simple, accurate way to manage the high volume of email messages customers typically receive. There should be a way to filter email without having to manage a huge number of inbox rules. Clutter addresses this issue.
"At its heart, it intends to remove as much unimportant mail, or clutter, from a user's inbox as possible so that a user's inbox can, well, become their inbox again," Chew writes. "At a high level, clutter is pretty simple. We know that in most businesses, people spend a great deal of time just trying to keep up with the volume of email coming into their inboxes throughout the day. How they manage that email can then serve as a blueprint for what is important to them."
Enhanced Document Collaboration, another upcoming feature, allows users to easily share files stored in the cloud as attachments in an email. When sending an attachment from a device or computer, users can automatically upload the file to the OneDrive cloud and send it as a link. Users can also easily attach a file directly from OneDrive when sending an email in OWA.
As for Groups, this idea was taken from Yammer and extended across Office 365.
"Starting things off in Yammer, you'll notice a list of Public Groups here pinned to the left," he writes."These are Groups that have either been created or joined. Clicking on a particular group will show the conversation feed for that group. This is where you share information and collaborate with others. A new group can be created from here – in fact, anyone in the organization can create a group from anywhere in Office 365, which empowers everyone to be more productive."
To read the full blog, head here. OWA is already available for the iPhone and iPad.
Better late than never. Good to see MS addressing customer needs.