Touch-optimised Microsoft Office apps finally appear on Android smartphones ahead of full launch later this year
Microsoft has made touch-optimised versions of its Office applications for Android smartphones available as a preview, inviting users to test out World, Excel and PowerPoint ahead of the apps’ official release later this year.
The company has already released similar apps for iOS and Android tablets, allowing users to access and edit documents on the move for free, and is now inviting owners of an Android smartphone running version 4.4 (KitKat) or later and with 1GB or more of RAM to participate in the preview programme.
“Bringing these apps to Preview first provides you with an early look at the apps, while enabling us to gather critical user feedback helping us shape and improve the app experience on a wide range of Android phones across the world,” said Microsoft. “The feedback we received from the Office for Android tablet Preview in January was critical to ensuring a high quality and consistent Office experience across Android tablet devices. “
Office for Android smartphones
Interested parties need to register with the Office for Android community and follow instructions to download the apps from the Google Play store. The applications will eventually replace the existing Office hub on Android, with Microsoft set to make a decision on its future later this year.
The launch of cross-platform Office applications marks a significant change in strategy from the company, which has traditionally touted the suite as a key differentiator for Windows and Windows Phone.
However it is now keen to get Office in the hands of as many people as possible in a bid to sell more subscriptions to Office 365. It stresses that the best Office experience is only possible with a subscription, touting features like OneDrive storage.
Last year, the company launched Office 365 Personal for home users, having had businesses packages available for some time. Office 365 has received a number of updates in recent times, with users now available to take advantage of unlimited storage and mobile device management (MDM) features, while developers now have access to more APIs for new applications.
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