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Microsoft releases Office mobile for Android, but with limitations

Office mobile for Android

Since the release of Microsoft’s productivity suite, Office 2013, and it accompanying online service subscription, Microsoft Office 365, there had been rumors of a mobile app for both iPhone and Android. Following the recent release of Office mobile for iPhone, Microsoft is extending the reach of its productivity suite with the just-announced Office mobile for Android 4.0 and higher.

While Windows Phone users have had the unique privilege to a free Office mobile app since Microsoft released the revamped mobile operating system three years ago, users on other mobile phone platforms alternatively had to resort to using the Microsoft Office desktop suite and the free Office Web apps made available with Outlook.com, formerly known as Hotmail. Now, users of Android and will have a native app that is optimized for a mobile experience. However, unlike the version that is available for Windows Phone users, Office mobile for Android, just like the version that is available on iPhone, will come with some editing limitations, limited features, and will be available as part of an Office 365 subscription.

Office mobile for Android contains the full version of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. OneNote, the note taking application that is part of Microsoft’s Office productivity suite, was already available as a stand-alone for app for iPhone and android a while ago. OneNote will remain as a stand-alone app. Office mobile for Android is now available on the U.S. as of today. Microsoft plans to release the app in 117 markets and 33 languages “over the next several weeks.”

With Android and iPhone amassing the majority of the mobile market share, nearly 92% combined, it was almost inevitable for Microsoft to release an Office mobile app for these platform despite the ostensible struggle that Windows Phone has had in an attempt to gain any sort of noticeable market share. With the release of Office mobile iPhone and now Android, Microsoft is smartly trying to extend the reach of its mobile suite on the mobile market which does not lack alternatives. The Office mobile that is released for Android and iPhone will not work on tablets as most users would expect. Unlike the Office mobile that available for iPhone and Android, Microsoft did not release an Office app for iPad and Android tablets. There is already an Office app available for Windows tablets that Microsoft has offered for free for the fledgling Surface RT and tablets with small screen. A release of Office for iPad and Android tablets will certainly be a blow to Microsoft’s tablets strategy, especially in the enterprise sector.

Office mobile is now available on the Google Play marketplace. If you are a current Android user, do you plan on getting an Office 365 subscription to use Office on Android, or is Google Docs a better alternative for you?

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