Microsoft is making available for Android phones public previews of its promised standalone touch versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
Available starting today, May 19, these apps are the replacement for the Office Mobile hub on Android.
The new Office for Android phone preview apps are similar to the touch-first Office apps preview for Windows phones that Microsoft made available to testers last week. (In fact, the Android and Windows Phone versions of these apps share a lot of the same underlying code, Microsoft officials have said.)
Microsoft delivered a public preview of Word, Excel and PowerPoint for Android tablets in November 2014, and made Office on Android tablets generally available in January 2015. Microsoft released updated versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps for Android tablets on May 5. These updated apps support Intel chipsets natively and also support Android Lollipop.
The new Office app previews for Android phones require Android KitKat 4.4.x or higher and devices with 1 GB of RAM or more.
There are a few hoops through which Android phone users need to jump in order to test the new preview Office apps:
- Join the Office Android Preview group
- "Become a tester" on Google Play by visiting the Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps
- Wait for about four hours as Google Play takes time to replicate permissions, then click above mentioned links and follow the download links to install apps from the Google Play Store
- Join Microsoft's Google+ community for support, feedback and queries
Office Desktop apps are for professional content creation, sophisticated authoring, data analysis, visualization, and similar tasks where users need precision control of the keyboard and mouse, Microsoft execs have said. The Desktop apps will be fully featured and support advanced functionality like macros.
The Office mobile/touch-first apps, which won't include all the Office Desktop bells and whistles, are more about on-the-go mobile productivity, where there can be some content-creation happening, but where users are likely more focused on content absorption and communication, Microsoft officials have said.