When Microsoft released Office Mobile for iPhone, it said it would be doing the same for Android. Today , it has finally released the Android version for Office 365 subscribers.
Mobile Office for Office 365 v Windows Phone 8
There is little difference between the iPhone version of last month and the Android version announced today. The experience is much the same with much the same functionality, offering Word, Excel and PowerPoint document creation and editing on Android smartphones.
Like the iPhone version, this is only available to Office 365 subscribers, putting considerable pressure on those who have not signed up to do so. They also have the option of buying a Windows Phone 8, which comes Office ready and does not require an Office 365 subscription -- not that that's the only way Microsoft is nudging people towards investing in a Windows Phone 8 however. Office Mobile on Windows Phone 8 has support for saving documents locally on the phone and also combines the set-up for email and Lync, while Office documents received by email will open directly in the Office Mobile app.
In fact, Microsoft is so focused on pushing the Windows Phone experience that it doesn't even offer access to Office 365 subscription within the Office Mobile for Android app. But if Microsoft thinks that this will push people towards Windows Phone 8 they may be overestimating people’s need for Office. There are a number of Android alternatives that exist already like Docs on Google Drive, or QuickOffice, and anyone that that really wants to create or edit documents can do so there.
All that said, it still means that a mobile version of Office is now available on Windows Phone, iPhone or Android phones, and free for those that are Office subscribers.
Working on Office Mobile for Android
These new apps are designed for people on the go and offers them access to all their documents in the cloud on SkyDrive, or SkyDrive Pro.
According to Julia White in an Office blog post, it offers support for the most commonly used document functions like charts, animations, SmartArt Graphics, and shapes. Users will also be able to edit documents and add comments using the same formatting and layout they might use on their desktop, so when they access edits later from a desktop it looks the same as it did on the phone. They will also be able to filter and search for documents.
It is unfortunate that even with this functionality, Microsoft has not seen fit to make it available for tablets. This is not just an Android problem, but an iPhone problem too, although Microsoft recommends that those using tablets should use Office Web Apps if they want to use Office.
Initially, Mobile for Android will only be available in the US, but Microsoft plans to make it available in 33 languages and in 117 markets in the coming weeks. Office Mobile for Android phones can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.