Filling in the final major missing piece of its strategy to deliver traditional Office apps on mobile, Microsoft on Tuesday shipped preview versions of its Office apps—Word, Excel, and PowerPoint—for Android phones. This release follows in the footsteps of similar releases on iPhone and Windows 10 Mobile for phones, and on all the major tablets platforms.
Microsoft previously shipped a preview version of the Office apps for Android tablets in January, and then made non-preview versions available about two weeks later. As you might expect, the Office apps for Android Preview are akin to the similar apps on iOS—which are now out of preview, and on Windows 10 Mobile for phones, which were announced in April and shipped in preview form and shipped alongside last week’s new Windows 10 Mobile build.
(Additionally, Microsoft has separately delivered new Outlook apps for iOS, Android and Windows 10, in both tablet and phone form. These apps are or will be “part of” Office mobile on these platforms, but are at different stages of development since much of the code came from last year’s Accompli purchase. Outlook for Android is no longer in preview.)
The Android versions of the Office apps are the last to ship in preview form, and replace—as they did or will on both iPhone and Windows Phone/Windows 10 Mobile for phones—the old Office Mobile app, which combined Word, Excel and PowerPoint into a single hub-style app.
“Over the last 12 months, we’ve transformed Office from a suite of desktop applications to a complete, cross-platform, cross-device solution for getting work done,” Microsoft’s Jared Spataro explains. “Today I’m pleased to announce the preview for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for Android phones.”
According to Microsoft, these new apps—which, again, closely mirror the similar/nearly identical apps on iPhone and Windows 10 Mobile—provide the following advantages:
Familiar experience. Word, Excel and PowerPoint for Android look and feel like Office, offering familiar navigation and functions in a touch-first design. As important, these apps will retain the fidelity of the underlying documents you work with, so you never need to worry that you will muck up someone else’s (or your own) work.
Designed for mobile productivity scenarios. No one expects you to write the next great American novel in a mobile app. Instead, the Office apps for Android phones are designed for mobile productivity scenarios, so you can read, review, and make edits on-the-go. Insert charts, text and tables in Excel. And review, make quick edits and even present with PowerPoint right from your phone.
Compatible with cloud storage services. You can work with documents stored on the phone or in Google Drive, OneDrive, OneDrive for Business, Box, Dropbox and SharePoint.
Basic collaboration features. Each app supports basic collaboration features, including track changes, comments and mark-ups in Word, and sharing from all apps.
To grab the Office apps for Android phones preview, you will need to join the Microsoft Office for Android community on Google+ and then choose to become a beta tester for each app using the links below:
There could be some downtime while Google Play replicates permission, Microsoft says.