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

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 …

  1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

    Well that sucks

    London I find areas where although connected on 4G with a good signal, very slow.

    I actually would prefer a lite version of Outlook for my work phone, I don't use hardly any features apart from the email side.


    1. logicalextreme

      Re: Well that sucks

      Yep, I'm always intrigued by "lite" versions of apps as they're presumably somewhat free of the needless bloat that comes with regular versions. That said, I used Messenger Lite for quite a while (I have to use it to keep in touch with certain people, unfortunately) and only found out after a long time of using it that it'd been eviscerating all uploaded media including voice recordings — they seemed fine to me in the app but the recipient could barely make them out.

      1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

        Re: Well that sucks

        Yeah I must admit if I am away I'll install Messenger Lite, I prefer it over the bloated proper version.

    2. MatthewSt

      Re: Well that sucks

      If you want it now just go to on your device and add it to home screen. That turns it into a PWA, let's it do notifications when not open, run in a window, not a tab etc.

      That's all the app does

      1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

        Re: Well that sucks

        Won't work for me, not allowed by the Corp I belong to.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    2G ?

    I can't begin to imagine how slow that can be. Is it any better than Edge ? You know, when you're on the Edge of having a connection ?

    How is it going to work for people with Outlook Lite receiving a full-fledged Outlook 365 mail with a 2MB attachment ?

    Because that happens.

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: 2G ?

      Slow, but I can see its usefulness.

      Last winter we had numerous lengthy power cuts here after storms - as well as knocking out home power (so no domestic broadband) it also demonstrated that the local base stations didn't have back-up power, so mobile Internet was off the cards as well.

      A trek up the road got me in range of a GSM cell that was functioning, but not offering anything above 2G - none of the apps on my phone wanted anything to do with that. Having some sort of connectivity - even if it was really slow - would have been very useful.

  3. mmm_yeah
    Thumb Up

    You can get it from sites like APK Mirror. It looks like the Web version that you get with mobile browsers, and doesn’t have contact or calendar sync.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Len

      Re: "the best Outlook experience"

      Hardware is usually ridiculously overpowered and relatively cheap. Development time is very expensive. A lot of effort going into optimisation doesn't make commercial sense.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "the best Outlook experience"

        Mediocrity is its own reward...

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: "the best Outlook experience"

          "Mediocrity is its own reward..."

          With Outlook, they are aspiring to get to mediocrity.

      2. Warm Braw

        Re: "the best Outlook experience"

        Hardware is usually ridiculously overpowered and relatively cheap

        Except that this "lite" version exists precisely because there are markets where that simply isn't true.

        Maintaining two versions doesn't sound like efficient use of developers' time. Nor, in most cases, does the pursuit of elaborate features used by hardly anyone that disproportionately absorb both development and maintenance resources.

        One of the reasons hardware is (relatively) cheap is that there is an enormous focus on cost throughout its life cycle. The mere utterance of the letters SDLC seem sufficient to ward off any consideration of cost when it comes to software development.

        1. portman

          Re: "the best Outlook experience"

          For those on planet earth that don't want to spend over 1k on a phone, lite applications do help provide longevity to our sub 500 phones.

      3. rg287 Silver badge

        Re: "the best Outlook experience"

        Doesn't need to be "optimisation".

        It's more like "write actual software instead of writing a website and then shipping it with an entire single-purpose browser".

        Aside from the crypto, what does WhatsApp do that MSN Messenger didn't? The latter downloaded in about 5MB and comfortably ran on a system with 32MB of RAM... WhatsApp will happily consume >500MB of RAM just sitting in the background.

        But you are correct with:

        Development time is very expensive.

        Getting your web team to sling something into Electron is indeed cheaper than hiring actual desktop/client software developers.

      4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: "the best Outlook experience"

        While that may be a reasonable general statement, it doesn't really apply to Outlook for Android which is already little more than a glorified WebView that Microsoft only grudgingly provides to stop people abandoning Exchange.

      5. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: "the best Outlook experience"

        I remember back in the day, being chuffed when I could save a single byte in my Z80 assembled code.

        Of course, those days are long gone, but even so, some of the things you see these days are so bloated, it can only be down to poor design and programming.

        It's a bit like when security issues are found in certain software: Usually, it's a silly mistake, or subtle bug, but sometimes it can only be due to the obvious complete cluelessness of the author, where the logic behind the whole process is completely flawed.

    2. gryphon

      Re: "the best Outlook experience"

      Well Outlook on my Corp laptop takes about 200MB currently.

      Teams on the other hand, nearly 900MB between all the different processes.

    3. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: "the best Outlook experience"

      "What the fuck has happened to software development? We used to be better than this. Didn't we?"

      Do you want to hold out Outlook as an example? I don't think it's ever been an exemplary bit of software.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The best Outlook experience would be ....

      Throwing it in the garbage, setting the dumpster on fire, throwing the whole thing in a blast furnace, then launching the whole mess into the Sun.

      Then blow up the Sun for good measure.

      At least Outlook Express and its various descendants never went around gratuitously restructuring the formatting and de-organizing the headers.

      1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: Then blow up the Sun for good measure.

        Surely Outlook is a Black Hole?

        When you sit at a pc that's got Outlook on it it is advisable to wear a lead suit to protect you from X-Ray emissions.

        (IIRC the biggest PST I've ever had the immense pleasure to run the Inbox Repair Tool on was a tad over 35Gb).

        1. 43300 Silver badge

          Re: Then blow up the Sun for good measure.

          I use a group policy to limit the local cacheing to a month. That keeps the local PST down to a reasonable size!

  5. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "only 1GB RAM"

    Bloatware. I use a perfectly competent email client (Pegasus) that only requires around 200 MB including local message cache.

    1. rg287 Silver badge

      Re: "only 1GB RAM"

      If it's designed for devices with 1GB of RAM, presumably the client uses rather less... unless the client is also it's own operating system.

  6. karlkarl Silver badge

    "only 1GB RAM"

    "Only" 1GB of RAM. Madness. Run Limbo (Qemu based emulator), run Windows 95 and get a full featured email client.

    How was such decent software written back then that takes less than ~5MB of ram?

    1. aerogems Silver badge

      Re: "only 1GB RAM"

      It's not what would be considered "full featured" by today's standards. Rightly or wrongly, people's expectations have increased and if you tried using an old version of Outlook Express or whatever preceded it, it wouldn't likely go well even if we don't consider the security issues that the software no doubt has. We were still barely into the Web 1.0 era at the time. A lot of emails probably rely on CSS and other HTML functions that simply didn't exist at the time.

      1. that one in the corner Silver badge

        Re: "only 1GB RAM"

        > A lot of emails probably rely on CSS and other HTML functions that simply didn't exist at the time.

        And a blissful time it was.

    2. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: "only 1GB RAM"

      Have you seen the sizes of the average Android app? It's enough to make a person whose first computer had 32 kilobytes cry.

      1. General Purpose

        Re: "only 1GB RAM"

        Don't cry, grandpa, please don't cry.

    3. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: "only 1GB RAM"

      MEGAbytes? Phshaw! I can use 12K View for the editor and about 8K of support software for the dialup and send/fetch/debatch on my BBC to do email.

  7. aerogems Silver badge

    Release it everywhere

    I don't really see what the problem would be in releasing this worldwide. So what if it's designed with specific markets in mind, if someone with a device sporting 12GB of RAM wants to use it, where's the harm?

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Release it everywhere

      Upvote, because lower end tablets only have 1 or 2 GB onboard and tend to run Android Go. I have two (freebies with magazine subscriptions) and they are actually pretty capable devices for "free", just a bit slow [*]. So having software that doesn't assume everything is a Samsung flagship would be good for, you know, the rest of us.

      * - This is, of course, completely relative. As it's nice and I'm on holiday I've been running my old Pi1 outdoors with a little 7" LCD panel and a hefty battery to power them both. I run RISC OS and use Netsurf. (for more demanding things I use my phone) I am shocked at how astonishingly slow everything is. Once upon a time that little 700MHz ARM11 processor was extremely nippy and could run the rings of Saturn around an ancient RiscPC with an ARM710 clocking at 40MHz. Now? The Pi1 is the RiscPC and the main machine is a Pi3B+ which is like an order of magnitude faster. My phone can do stuff the Pi (either) can't even dream about. So the tablet is fast or slow depending upon what it compares with. But it's a quad core jobbie (one of those Allwinner chips) so it isn't a total piece of crap (just pretend there's no camera). Handles Netflix...

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Release it everywhere

      The downside is "emperor's clothes syndrome". If more people realised just how bloated Outlook is, they might start to question the whole 365 ecosystem.

      1. Pirate Dave Silver badge

        Re: Release it everywhere

        "If more people realised just how bloated Outlook is"

        I'm not disagreeing with that, but you're assuming quite a lot (perhaps too much) about the general Outlook user base. I'd have to think most of the ones who could understand the concept of "bloat" in relation to software already know that Outlook is a bloated piece of dung. The rest couldn't understand it even were it explained by Barney in a nursery rhyme song.

        1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: even were it explained by Barney in a nursery rhyme song.

          The wheels on the bus keep falling off.

          Falling off.

          Falling off.

          The wheels on the bus keep falling off.

          Falling off.

          Falling off.


  8. portman

    Lite mode should be standard for mobiles

    Maybe it's just me, but these mobile apps are getting far too data and battery hungry these days. Offering lite versions of apps that just get the job done should be the standard. I don't need this extra fluff like fancy UI's and doing more than the scope of say an "email app".

    1. Warm Braw

      Re: Lite mode should be standard for mobiles

      One mobile phone company app that I need to pay my PAYG bills is 30MB. Another provider's app is 162MB. I have mobile banking apps that vary between 13MB and 300MB. The bloat really hasn't got much to do with the functions offered.

  9. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

    Really, the words "on 2G networks" are redundant in that headline. I use it every day. I don't want it, it's just that my company bought it and forces me to use it, much to my displeasure (especially every time it* goes into its new favourite infinite loop of "Outlook has encountered an error... repair now?")

    * to be fair, Excel actually seems to do this way more often.

  10. adam 40 Silver badge


    the full android outlook caned my poor phone so much it lost all free space and was almost impossible to remove once in that state.

    I wonder if I might risk it again....

    It work want to email me something on my personal phone, well, they can pay extra for the space. So - I don't' do it. Even teams is disabled unless I'm travelling abroad.

  11. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    In future news...

    Microsoft puts the Outlook Lite team in charge of upgrading Outlook.

  12. ravenviz Silver badge

    Will it work on my Vic 20 with 3K of RAM?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Smart phones on 2G having usable data? Is this some kind of sick joke?

    I just returned from a week in rural area that had what is possibly the lowest possible bar for 2G data connectivity. It was barely able to eke through an email or two or RCS/other text messages through every five to ten minutes. I cannot imagine trying to use MS bloatcrap over such a connection. Don't ask about other experiences with Microtrash out there on what passed as an "Internet" connection. OneDrive? Expletives. Lots of expletives. Outlook Web? So many more expletives- and that was when I did have a usable Internet connection.

  14. Cuddles

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

    Microsoft thinks there are people who actually want to use Outlook?

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