July 31, 2013
Microsoft Office Mobile Finally Lands On Android
Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Software giant Microsoft has extended the reach of its Office products to mobile devices. The tech company's Office Mobile first arrived earlier this summer on the iPhone, and now it is finally landing on Android, the world's number one mobile platform.
On Wednesday, Microsoft announced Office 365 subscribers will be able to download and run the Office Mobile app for Android. Office for Android is a smartphone-only app, and just as Office for iPhone isn't available as an iPad version, the same holds true for Android tablet devices.
"Last November, we delivered a brand new version of Office Mobile, preinstalled on all Windows Phone 8 devices. In June, we released Office Mobile for iPhone as a unique benefit for Office 365 subscribers," Microsoft spokesperson Julia White posted on Microsoft's Office News blog. "Today, we are launching Office Mobile for Android phones in the United States at no additional charge for Office 365 subscribers. This means that Office 365 subscribers can now work on their Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents from virtually anywhere--using their Windows Phone, iPhone or Android phones."
The Office 365 app is available for Android devices running the 4.0 operating system or later. It is also limited to Office 365 subscribers.
"When signing in to Office Mobile for Android phones, you can use either a Microsoft Account associated with your Office 365 Home Premium or Office 365 University subscription or an Organization account for all other Office 365 accounts," Guy Gilbert, senior product manager for Office apps, posted on the Office 365 blog.
Office 365 is Microsoft's cloud-based productivity suite, and is available for $99 per year or $10 per month for home users. Subscribers of the cloud-based service are allowed to run Office on up to five mobile devices, but this won't count against the five PCs or Macs that can install the desktop apps -- and Windows RT and Windows Phone devices apparently won't count against either total as Office is preinstalled on those devices.
However, for those Office 365 subscribers the app is free and provides access to PowerPoint, Word and Excel documents on an Android device. It can be downloaded beginning Wednesday from Google Play. It is currently only available in the United States, but Microsoft has announced it will be available in dozens of countries over the next "several weeks."
Where the Android model is different is that unlike with the Apple iPhone version there isn't a subscription option available specifically for mobile.
The app does, however, include several features that will let Office 365 subscribers sync files between the mobile devices and PCs. These files, like all Office 365 documents, can reportedly sync via Microsoft's SkyDrive Web storage service. This service is the default place in the cloud to save documents, and Office subscribers get an additional 20GB of storage.
"Office Mobile is designed for people on the go. We made it easy to access your Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents in the cloud on SkyDrive or SkyDrive Pro," White added. "When you're on your phone, you'll see the list of documents you recently opened on your computer in the Recent Documents panel--no searching needed. And of course, you can view and edit documents you receive in email."
So why no tablet versions for iOS or Android? The answer could be that Microsoft appears to be pushing its own offerings in that space.
As TechCrunch noted, "Microsoft pushes the Office aspect of its Windows 8 OS and Surface devices hard, positioning that as a key productive differentiator between its devices and those on competing platforms."