Office “Gemini” is the codename for the next big update to Office, in which we are expecting a Metro/Modern version of the Office productivity suite. The “Gemini” range of Office updates are rumored to roll out sometime next year, around the spring or summer time.
Similar to Office Web Apps (and Office 365 subscription model being the center of the Gemini strategy), this new version of Office will run on multiple platforms. According to a new report from ZDNet, Microsoft is reportedly working to build the Word, PowerPoint, and Excel apps from the ground up. Microsoft is internally calling these apps as WinRT apps.
“To get the core Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote apps to work natively on touch platforms, Microsoft is basically having to start almost from scratch. The Office team is having to redo the UI to include an updated ribbon model. They’ve had to rethink what a touch-first (as opposed to afterthought “touch mode) interaction experience should be,” the report states.
These WinRT apps are not intended to replace their desktop counterparts, as Microsoft plans to continue to develop and innovate on the desktop front. The report also indicated that InfoPath may circle the drain in the near future, but Microsoft has yet to confirm this. The new interface Microsoft is working on is set to be the center of the new Office on all platforms, including competitors platforms.
So what is taking so long? According to ZDNet, it has a lot to do with the company’s new and evolving product strategy, along with internal politics. However, the projected release date is sometime during spring or summer of 2014. Could we see a multi-platform Office or simply a touch-centric Windows Store style apps? We will just have to wait and see.
Microsoft is already working on two new Office apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. Currently code named as Office Reader, this app provides a cross format tool for consuming different formats of content. The Office Lens app for Windows Phone allows one to scan and convert a picture using optical character recognition.Further reading: Microsoft, Office