Slightly over a month after it introduced them as a preview on smartphones, Microsoft has made official its Office suite of Word, PowerPoint and Excel applications on the Google Play Store. Microsoft had been testing the same on tablets for quite some time with a subset of users who had signed up for the preview till February when it became available.
Users will be able to edit documents that are already save in various cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive, Box or Microsoft’s own OneDrive on both Android tablets and smartphones. Applications for both types of mobile devices are bundled together and the right one will be installed on your smartphone or tablet as long as you get it from the Play Store.
According to Google, there are at least 4,000 different Android devices in the world with the number rising every passing minute. Microsoft managed to test its Office apps on 1,900 different phone models during the five week preview period.
Office will be available freely to everyone for personal use. If you need to use it for commercial purposes then the requirement of an Office 365 subscription kicks in.
The three Office apps can be found worldwide on the Play Store [direct links: Word, Excel, Powerpoint] and on the Samsung Galaxy Store and in countries like China where the Google Play Store is a no-no, on app stores like Tencent, Baidu, Xiaomi and CMCC’s. You’ll need to be on Android 4.4 KitKat or higher and have a device with at least 1 GB RAM in order to be able to use Office on your Android smartphone. Sorry Galaxy J1 users, you’re stuck with the old Microsoft Office Mobile application for all your document editing needs. Google’s split Docs apps still work just fine. Polaris Office, Hancom Office and the rest still work just fine as well.
Microsoft says that it is working on bringing the same to Android M so you can expect Office to be there when the next version of Android is ready for everyone later in the year. The company is also working on having more and more OEMs bundling the Office apps on new smartphones. Samsung is the first company to do this as several Microsoft applications like OneDrive come preloaded on the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. Sony, LG, Haier, Prestigio and many others are next.