Microsoft has already released the long awaited Office for iPhone, but Android remained only a dream and a rumor. Now the software company makes good on that with the roll out of a version for the Google mobile operating system. The app went live today in the Google Play store, but there are a few catches.
The app itself is free, but users must be Office 365 customers -- a service that charges per month or annually, depending on the plan one chooses.
Installing is easy -- customers can do so from the web, which displays a drop-down list of devices, or straight from the device itself. If you choose the former then you will be greeted with a list of all of your Android products. My Google TV box was obviously greyed out, but so were both my tablets -- the app is only for phones. In fact, only for phones running Ice Cream Sandwich and newer, meaning the old Droid X (yes, I still have it). This left only the Galaxy Nexus, as the Asus MeMO and brand new Nexus 7 were not compatible.
Once the app is fired up you will need to agree to the usual terms of service -- nothing unusual in it, as I read through just to make sure. Then comes the catch -- you need an Office 365 subscription. If you purchased one for your home computers then you are set, otherwise you have a problem here. I will assume you have it and continue on. Log in with your email and password and get started.
Now with the app open, you will find a list of the docs you have saved, but only those saved to SkyDrive -- do not expect to find your locally stored docs.
The top of the screen contains three options, consisting of the aforementioned files, creating new documents and searching other locations.
The app will only allow for the access of Word and Excel files and templates, and Settings gives access to rather basic information, most of which will be familiar to Office customers.
Bear in mind that this is version 1.0, so there may be a speedbump or two along the way, but for the most part the app seems fully fledged. OneNote was already available for Android, so the addition of Word and Excel is welcome, and other parts of the Office suite are probably unneeded -- I doubt anyone wishes to edit or create a PowerPoint display on a phone.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.