Continuing its surprising, but not unwelcome, expansion in to Android, Microsoft‘s Office team has announced the immediate availability of Outlook Web App for Android. But while this rather useful app will let you easily manage your work email and contacts, it has some rather steep requirements that will leave a lot of Android users out in the cold.
The most important requirement is that email accounts that will be used with OWA should be hosted on Office 365 for Business, not Personal, not Home Premium. That is somewhat not surprising considering OWA’s roots come from the enterprise-oriented Microsoft Exchange Server. However, it also won’t work on Outlook.com, formerly known as Hotmail to some, email addresses, though those may come at a later date. Second, it will only work on devices running Android 4.4 and higher and only those that fall under Android’s definition of “small” and “normal” sizes. In other words, OWA only works on smartphones and not on tablets, which matches the compatibility constraints of Microsoft Office Mobile.
Once you manage to meet those requirements, you will be able to take full advantage of everything that the app has to offer, including easy access to Outlook email, Calendar, and People. All using the distinct “Modern” look of Windows apps, of course, and eschewing the usual Android app conventions. In exchange, Microsoft is throwing in a feature that isn’t available on the app’s iOS counterpart. OWA for Android can sync with Android’s native Addressbook framework so that any change you do for that contact on the Android app will be reflected on Outlook and Office 365 for Business as well.
If you use Office 365 for work or pleasure, you can take OWA for Android for a spin. It’s free, as long as you meet the requirements. Do note that it is marked as pre-release, so expect some bugs and major changes along the way.