Microsoft’s new Outlook email client for Windows, known as “One Outlook,” appears to be nearly finished. As initially reported by Windows Central, some users have been able to download the new software, albeit it appears to be limited to work and school accounts for the time being. Those who have gained access are discovering… well, pretty much what you’d expect.
They have long suspected that the Outlook online app will represent the future of Microsoft’s mail clients, and the new app appears to be exactly that. It’s a lot lighter and easier to use than earlier versions of Outlook for Windows, and it’s a lot more powerful than the built-in Mail software it’ll eventually replace. Microsoft is continuing to transfer its services to the web rather than running them exclusively as native apps, therefore the app is fully hosted online.
In a statement to The Verge, Scott Stiles, vice president of product management for Outlook, said, “We appreciate the excitement for our next update and will have more to share in the coming weeks.” “The version available for download is an early unsupported test version of Outlook for Windows and is missing some of the features and enhancements that will be available for our beta testers. We encourage our customers to wait for the beta version to be released.”
The app was expected to go into beta testing in 2021, with plans to replace the existing clients later that year. Microsoft is expected to officially debut the new software at its Build developer conference at the end of this month, and it will gradually replace Mail, Calendar, and other versions of Outlook. How does it perform? We’ll have to wait till we get our hands on the new software to find out, but desktop apps that serve as shells for web apps have a shaky track record. However, given Microsoft’s long-standing support for Progressive Web Apps, it appears that the future is on its way.
It won’t be easy to make the switch because many Outlook users are accustomed to the way the app has operated, and an experience centred on the sparser, cleaner online version will feel like a significant change. As a result, Microsoft is likely to continue to offer different versions of Outlook to consumers, at least for the time being. However, it has a clear way forward: there will be only One Outlook in the future. It all starts with the internet.
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