Microsoft Outlook has been available on Android phones and tablets for a while now, but an optimize version that will work better on lower-end devices is in development.
The official roadmap for Microsoft 365 states that ‘Outlook Lite for Android’ is planned to roll out worldwide sometime in July 2022, as pointed out by ZDNet. The roadmap is light on details (pardon the pun), with Microsoft only describing it as “an Android app that brings the main benefits of Outlook in a smaller app size with fast performance for lightweight devices on any network.”
Microsoft Outlook Lite is already available on the Google Play Store in a few countries, such as Turkey and Mexico, and the app’s page has more details about what to expect. The current version of Outlook Lite has integrated email, calendar, and contacts, but has a much smaller download size of around 5 MB (the regular Android app is around 86 MB) and is optimized for devices that only have 1 GB of RAM. The app already has 100,000 downloads in the regions where it is officially available.
The catch is that Outlook Lite is only compatible with Microsoft’s own services: Outlook.com and Microsoft 365 accounts, and corporate Exchange servers. The normal Outlook app can synchronize with Gmail, iCloud, Yahoo Mail, and other third-party services. There are a few other missing features, like dark mode, synchronization with device contacts, and event reminders. It’s not clear if any of those shortcomings will be addressed before this month’s global rollout.
It’s common for popular apps and services to offer ‘Lite’ versions for lower-end Android devices, mostly aimed at developing countries where flagship phones aren’t common and storage is at a premium. There’s Facebook Lite, Messenger Lite, and Skype Lite, to name a few. Google also has ‘Go’ versions of some apps intended for phones and tablets running Android Go, the customized build of Android found on most devices with 2 GB RAM or less.
The news comes as Microsoft is developing a new desktop Outlook app, which is currently in testing on Windows and arrive on other platforms in the future.