Microsoft thinks there are people on 2G networks who want to use Outlook

Offers 5MB Outlook Lite App that works on phones with only 1GB RAM

Microsoft has made Outlook Lite available in select markets for low-powered Androids.

“Outlook is used by millions of people daily for their email and calendaring needs across the world. Yet, there are a wide range of devices that do not have all the capabilities required to get the best Outlook experience on their smartphone,” said Microsoft on its Outlook blog.

The streamlined version of the famous email service, used often begrudgingly for work matters, is said to come with what Microsoft calls all the main features of the original, including emails, calendar, contacts. The difference, according to Microsoft is that the app is just 5MB, can run on low-end devices like those with only 1GB RAM and doesn’t demand much battery.

It’s also designed for use on “all networks.” Among those networks, Microsoft name-checked 2G and 3G, a detail it left out in its Windows 365 Roadmap.

Outlook Lite was rolled out in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, India, Mexico, Peru, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, and Venezuela. Microsoft promises more locations in the future.

It makes sense the United Kingdom didn’t get an invite to the rollout as the government announced it would phase out both 2G and 3G networks by 2033, with companies like BT going for the chop on 2G an entire decade sooner.

Many countries that made the rollout list, like India, still typically carry a significant number of 2G users. The subcontinent’s carriers are yet to operate a 5G network and the country includes more than a 100 million who rely on 2G.

Microsoft said Outlook Lite will “empower more individuals, schools, universities, and small businesses with a solution for their lightweight mobile devices,” which seems like a decent way to establish at least some following and compete with the likes of Gmail.

For its part, Google offers the minimalist Gmail Go, which lacks many of the more sophisticated features found in the mainstream version of Gmail (there's no Google Meet, for eg) while keeping the most essential of functionality. It's just under 10MB in size and can only be downloaded on low-end handsets.

As for Microsoft's Lite version, it won’t be supporting Android Work Profile and Mobile Application Management (MAM) for work accounts. For those who need that functionality, they'll have to use the original Outlook, making the Lite app a moot offering no matter where they reside. ®

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