A beta preview of Office Apps for Android tablet is expanding. The company recently announced that a preview version of its most popular Office apps, such as Word, Power Point and Excel, is now available as a free download at the Google Play Store.
Keep in mind, this is still the preview version of these apps. There’s still no indication when the full version will be available for download. However, the preview version of Office for Android tablets does allow users the ability to create, edit and save documents and projects.
Microsoft says that the version now available on the Google Play Store is designed for ARM-based Android tablets. The tablets have to be running either the KitKat or newer Lollipop versions of Android. And they need to have a screen size between 7 and 10.1 inches in order to run the Android version of Office apps.
In an announcement on the company’s official Office Blog, the Office 365 Team explained:
“Over the last two months, we have heard from people all over the world who want the power of Office on their Android tablet. The feedback we’ve received through this initial phase of preview has helped us shape and optimize the Office experience for Android tablet users. Your feedback also helps us plan and prioritize future feature updates.”
For a lot of small businesses that have relied on Microsoft’s brand of office productivity tools, this development could help make the workplace more mobile and allow more people to work remotely. More and more products similar to Office have been popping up.
Google, for one, has been making its productivity apps available on tablets for several years now. There are other free options available, too. Players like Polaris and OfficeSuite offer alternatives. And Microsoft has responded to the trend a little late.
It’s up to you, of course, whether to choose Google, Microsoft or any other product for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations. But for business owners who already use Microsoft Office on the rest of their systems, the announcement is clearly good news.
In November, Microsoft released an Android version of its Outlook app for Office 365 subscribers on Google Play. But the app was only for devices with small to average screen size, so at the time, larger tablet users were left out.
Around the same time, Microsoft offered a refund to iPad users who had been paying for an Office 365 subscription in order to use a special Office app. The refund coincided with Microsoft’s decision to give most mobile users access to at least some parts of Office on a limited beta basis.
Microsoft will likely gather a lot more feedback as the Office Apps for Android tablet preview moves forward. Since it was uploaded to the Play Store, Office for Android tablets has been downloaded more than 10 million times already. And, for what it’s worth, it’s gotten an average rating of four stars out of five so far.
Image: Microsoft, Google