Microsoft is folding Sunrise, the popular calendar app for Android and Apple iOS devices, into its Outlook mobile app. And that means Sunrise's days as a stand-alone app are numbered.
"The Sunrise team is now officially a part of the broader Outlook product team, bringing a fresh approach to calendaring and combining it with Microsoft's deep expertise in both email and calendar," said Javier Soltero, corporate vice president of Microsoft Outlook, in an Oct. 28 announcement. "Better Outlook calendaring gives you more ability to manage your personal and professional life from a single, powerful app."
On Feb. 11, Microsoft announced it had acquired Sunrise Atelier and its namesake app. Microsoft reportedly spent $100 million to bring Sunrise's well-regarded, user-friendly app into its growing mobile productivity software suite. Incidentally, the Outlook apps for Android and iOS hail from Acompli, another Microsoft acquisition.
Now, despite assurances by Sunrise's co-founders at the time that the app was "not going anywhere," Soltero announced that the software will one day disappear from app stores but live on within Outlook mobile's enhanced calendaring functionality.
"Over the coming months, you'll see richer calendar experiences come to Outlook from Sunrise—including Interesting Calendars and connections to your favorite apps and services," Soltero said. Microsoft also plans to improve how meetings are scheduled and managed, particularly across time zones.
"All of this means Outlook will eventually replace the current Sunrise app," continued Soltero. "We will leave Sunrise in market until its features are fully integrated into Outlook, the exact timing of which we will communicate in advance."
Meanwhile, Outlook mobile is getting a makeover.
Microsoft polished up the interface for iOS users in an update that is currently being rolled out to users. "We tweaked UI [user interface] elements by adding visual cues to help you see and process information more quickly at a glance," Soltero said. "We also improved navigation around the app and made key features more prominent—so you can do more with fewer taps."
One example is the addition of an event icon that makes it easier to spot invitations within the inbox's message list. Similarly, the flag and attachment icons are more prominently placed, making the mobile experience more consistent with Outlook on the desktop.
Consistency is another major theme in the upcoming update for the Android version of the app.
"By deeply leveraging Material design and its common interface elements, we are making it easy to get started and become familiar with Outlook," Soltero said. Material design describes the visual guidelines that inform how Google builds user interfaces, including that of its Android mobile operating system.
"With this consistent design, Outlook for Android feels more cohesive. You'll see right away as you open the app, with our redesigned header, message list and compose experiences," he added.
The new Outlook for Android UI is set to be released in early November, according to Soltero.