Windows 8.1 features tighter Outlook.com integration
Webmail gets touchy. Microsoft's long-awaited Windows 8.1 update will include a revamped, mobile-friendly Mail app that features tighter Outlook.com integration. Inspired by the company's Outlook.com webmail service, Microsoft's Windows 8.1 operating system update will include a default email app that is designed with tablet users in mind. A new Mail app awaits Windows 8.1 users when it is released Oct. 17 in the U.S., one that "is optimized for mobile devices, built for touch" wrote Dawn Martynuik, director of Outlook.com Product Marketing in a blog post. She added that one of Outlook.com's most popular features, Sweep, "is coming to the Mail app exclusively for people with an Outlook.com email account." Sweep is a time-saving option that automates common email tasks and allows users to organize their inboxes. By invoking Sweep, users can move or delete all emails from a certain sender in one fell swoop. Users can optionally set Sweep rules for future emails or schedule the deletion of emails from certain senders after 30, 60 or 90 days. Other Outlook.com integrations include automatic replies and newsletter and social update categories that automatically organize emails fitting those criteria into separate views, further uncluttering the main inbox. Mobile devices and their increased use also factored into the redesigned Mail app. Ryan Gavin, general manager Microsoft Apps and Services, wrote in a Windows Experience Blog post that "email is one of the most frequently performed activities for consumers on a tablet." Data collected by Microsoft backs up those claims. Indicating that the service is growing fast, he added that "Outlook.com mobile usage has tripled in the last year." On May 2, the company reported "over 400 million active Outlook.com accounts, including 125 million that are accessing email, calendar and contacts on a mobile device using Exchange ActiveSync," according to Outlook.com Group Program Manager Dick Craddock. As a reflection of these mobile trends, Microsoft is touting the touch-enabled strides the company made with the Mail app for Windows 8.1. "Building for touch brought a wide range of improvements across the Mail app in Windows 8.1," wrote Gavin.