Microsoft recently announced the launch of Office for Android handsets. More than a month ago, the company had released the suite of Office apps as a preview, but now it is finally and officially releasing the package, which includes Word, Excel, and PowerPoint all optimized for use on smartphones that run on the Android mobile operating system. This latest release is a nice follow-up to Microsoft's recent efforts to get Office apps working Android-run tablets,as well as bring support for Office on devices using the iOS, OS X, and Windows platforms.
What the Office apps essentially bring to the table is the ease and convenience of viewing and creating documents and files using mobile phones. Thus, Android users can now read and edit files without being stuck at their desk, prepare and present PowerPoint presentations via their smartphones, and even retrieving documents that are stored from services such as Google Drive or Dropbox.
The Office apps should be a good replacement for the old Office Mobile. To install, the apps require a full gigabyte of RAM, and Android KitKat version 4.4 or newer versions. It should be noted that Android M, the latest Android version, is still not supported.
Users can use the Office apps completely free of charge as long as they have a free Microsoft account. As for those who want get every feature, they will have to subscribe to Office 365 in order to unlock all the extras.
Microsoft also revealed that the Office apps will come pre-installed on handsets from more than 30 original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), which include Samsung, LG and Sony, just to name a few. These devices are slated to hit store shelves in retail outlets some time later in 2015.
Obviously, not all are willing to wait to get a handset pre-loaded with the Office apps. To those with little patience, they can just download the apps -- they are available to the public, after all. As a matter of fact, the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps for Android can now be downloaded from Google Play.
Microsoft is definitely staying true to its word of becoming a cross platform mobile player, especially with regards to offering software related products and services for smartphones and tablets. One would think that the company would remain mostly tied to the Windows environment, but now it is making a conscious decision to be more available to every existing device, regardless if they run on Android, iOS, or Windows. The ploy seems to be working -- earlier this year in April, Microsoft revealed that its Android and iOS downloads have already breached the 100 millionth mark. If it continues to work at it, Microsoft may just achieve its goal of hitting 1 billion devices in the next few years.
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