Microsoft successfully fixed web browser issues on Windows by migrating EdgeHTML-based Edge to the Chromium engine. The company is now using a similar strategy for the Outlook app and has started rolling out the new email client for Windows 11 and Windows 10 through Office Insider channels.
For those unaware, Windows currently supports two desktop email clients: the UWP-based Mail app that comes pre-installed, and Outlook Win32 that comes bundled with the Microsoft Office productivity suite. It’s no secret that Microsoft struggles to maintain two versions of Outlook for Windows and other platforms.
The UWP version, for example, lacks too many features compared to the full version of the email client. According to sources, Microsoft has already moved the UWP Mail app to maintenance mode, which means users shouldn’t expect any improvements from the old app now.
Hands-on with the new email client for Windows 11
Outlook’s new app for Windows 11 is apparently based on Chromium-based Edge WebView and it’s a web wrapper. However, Outlook is a very well designed web application and the majority will not even notice that it is a web application.
It comes with all the features you would expect from a modern app, including the ability to locate documents with @files and @documents. This is similar to the existing feature that lets you @mention someone to add them to an email message.
There is another new feature that reminds you when you miss a message and Outlook considers it important.
It also comes with built-in calendar integration, which means you no longer need to manage a separate calendar app. The interface lets you organize your most important items and manage everything in one view.
Interestingly, Microsoft also seems to be working on Mica hardware for Outlook. As you can see in the screenshot above, Mica works after modifying the Windows Registry for Outlook.
Of course, it is possible that Microsoft will also incorporate Fluent Design’s acrylic material. In fact, Microsoft Edge’s context menus or main menus already support acrylic-like transparent/translucent effects.
Along with a new design, Microsoft is also adding “My Day” integration that keeps you in the flow of your work while helping you stay connected to important topics. You can easily drag and drop messages as tasks in your task or better manage your tasks in the calendar.
It’s worth noting that additional UI improvements for the Mail app are still expected later this year, and new features will be added via server-side updates. For now, the focus is on the design and accessibility features of this new Outlook on the web-based application.