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Microsoft Releases Office Apps For Android Smartphones

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Microsoft World, Excel and PowerPoint apps now available from Google Play after five weeks of testing on 1,900 smartphones

Microsoft has officially released touch-optimised Office applications for Android smartphones following a five week testing period.

The company has launched Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint on iOS and Android tablets, but until now had only made a preview version of Office available to those with smartphones running Google’s mobile operating system.

Members of the Office Android community have tested the apps on 1,900 different smartphones, with their feedback used to influence the final release.

Microsoft Office Android

Microsoft Office Android 1“We are so grateful to our preview users,” said Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for the Office Client Applications and Services team. “During the preview, we heard from thousands of these users, and over the last few weeks we were able to incorporate a lot of their feedback into the apps we’re launching today.

“For example, we made it easier to connect to other popular third-party storage offerings like Google Drive and Box, as well as many usability adjustments to make it easier to navigate commands within the apps.”

Like its iOS and Android tablet counterparts, the new apps allow users to read and edit documents, resume working on a file from the same point they left on a desktop, and make wireless presentations with PowerPoint.

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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