Outlook Lite for Android brings Microsoft's email app to budget phones

Microsoft quietly announced the launch of Outlook Lite for Android, a streamlined version of the company's email service designed to use less battery and storage space than the default Outlook app without sacrificing features or performance.

Specifically, Microsoft says that Outlook Lite has all the main features of the Outlook experience neatly packed into a 5MB app that's optimized for speed, even on lower-end Android devices. The company says the app was designed to run fast on devices with as little as 1GB of RAM, use less battery impact than the full app and offer good performance on older 2G and 3G networks.

That lower data, storage and battery impact is, of course, the point. And Microsoft isn't alone: pared down, lightweight apps serve a huge market of users with budget devices on older networks. That's why Google offers Android Go, a pared down version of the mobile OS designed specifically for lower-end phones, and why Meta has put so much effort into building small, but feature-rich versions of its Instagram and Facebook apps. You can find lightweight apps for Twitter, Tiktok and even Tinder

Like most lightweight apps, this one has its caveats. Microsoft's new mail app doesn't cut any major features to earn its 'lite' moniker, but it won't work with as many email providers as the primary Outlook app. At present, Outlook Lite is only compatible with Outlook.com, Hotmail, Live, MSN, Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Exchange Online accounts. Likewise, the app is also only available in select countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, India, Mexico, Peru, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and Venezuela — though Microsoft says it may add support for more locations in the future.

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