Microsoft is hoping a new feature it has announced for Outlook will give it the edge over email rival Gmail.
For over a decade, Outlook and Gmail have been constant competitors for top choice when it comes to user email and both have evolved since their beginnings. While Gmail is still the most popular, both programmes have exceptional capability. Despite Gmail’s advantage of a wider user base, rival Microsoft has now released a new, much in-demand theme for Outlook, which Google’s client doesn’t provide on mobile.
Outlook discovers its dark side on mobile
The new feature is a ‘dark mode’ that can be accessed in Outlook for Android and iOS, and Microsoft’s rollout is underway. Dark themes have seen an increasing rise in popularity recently, with the Redmond-based company’s Windows 10 being among the first two operating systems to offer users the new view.
Not only easier on the eyes of users, dark modes allow devices to run for longer and at less expense as they consume a smaller amount of power too. A dark theme utilised on a smartphone, for example, could improve the device’s battery life.
Dark designs for a fresh Outlook
Microsoft Office Design Head, Jon Friedman commented on the new view for Outlook in a recent blog discussing the extensive design work involved in creating a dark theme:
“People often think of dark mode as a choice between a black or white screen, but this feature involves a wide spectrum of both grayscale and colour gradients. Our design research specifically focused on these contexts where folks would want to use dark mode, and the response was very positive. While some dark mode experiences can be neon or overly bright, people felt that Outlook mobile kept the kind of relaxed feeling you might want in a dimly lit living room or bedroom.”
Friedman also explained additional inbuilt functionality of dark mode when users are on the move currently in the works. For the following round of releases of the operating system on Android and iOS, Outlook will activate dark mode automatically based on preference settings. For now, Outlook on Android will simply switch to the dark theme when battery saver is selected.
The first rollout for Outlook’s dark mode on Android and iOS has already started, with plans to extend the new aesthetic to other Microsoft programmes including Excel, Word, OneNote, SharePoint, PowerPoint, OneDrive, To-Do and Planner for the planned launch of Apple’s iOS 13.
While both Outlook and Gmail already provide dark theme options on their desktop versions, Gmail currently can’t offer dark mode on its mobile applications, although recent versions suggest it is an ambition Google are working on.
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