ATLANTA — Microsoft made good on a promise to release an Android mobile app for SharePoint.
At its Ignite conference here this week, the company unveiled an early access release for Android phones that can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.
Microsoft announced it was working on on mobile apps when it released SharePoint 2016 earlier this year. The Android app follows earlier releases for iPhones and a preview version of Windows 10 phones.
Sites, Links, People
Although the app isn't quite ready for primetime, it looks promising. A lot of the functionality that workers need to access and work with team sites, documents stored in SharePoint or intranet portal management are available under the main categories of Sites, Links and People.
According to the information provided on the Play Store site, a number of the in-app experiences will use Microsoft Graph to surface content, which should make it quicker to use and more extensive in reach.
Graph, released in March 2014, provides a unified search capability across integrated applications and content repositories and draws connections between people, content and activity within an organization.
To use the SharePoint app organizations need to have an Office 365 subscription that includes SharePoint Online, with support for SharePoint Server 2013 and SharePoint 2016 to be added later.
Microsoft hasn't formally said when the final release of either the Windows Phone or Android app will be available.
SharePoint Feature Pack
Microsoft's SharePoint roadmap contains numerous things, including updates driven by user response to doclibs, lists, pages, sites and apps.
The roadmap also looks like Microsoft is offering more and faster additions for SharePoint Server. In the past, the upgrades were included in Service Packs that would come out every two years.
The new SharePoint Server 2016 Feature Packs will come as often as once a month, with the first one due in November.
There’s a lot coming in the new Feature Pack with a number of security features like unified auditing across the Office 365 Security and Compliance Center and granular logging of administrative actions.
OneDrive for Business Experience
For workers, the enhanced OneDrive for Business experience for end users should be the big winner. The Feature Pack enables SharePoint App Launcher, which is a screen that shows the available Office 365 apps and SharePoint apps located on-premises.
A newly added capability with Feature Pack 1 will be the ability to add custom tiles, which can "point to other SharePoint sites, external sites, legacy apps and more," according to Microsoft's announcement.
The bottom line is that it offers easier access to all the content and apps that business users can reach from the App Launcher screen face-lifting easier interaction and work with those apps.