Ever wonder when you’ll get to use Microsoft‘s Office Web Apps on your Android tablet? Well, wonder no more. Today, Microsoft shared info on what it plans to do regarding its popular Web-based productivity suite over the next year and beyond. In line with its aim of encouraging on-the-go content creation for everyone, it is currently working on rolling out much-needed Office Web Apps compatibility with Android-powered tablets.
In a post on its Office 365 blog, Microsoft said that it plans to work on three main areas for the betterment of Office Web Apps: user experience, social and collaboration, and broad cross platform browser support. It’s in that last area that Android tablet support is included, as Office Web Apps will soon be made to work with Android through mobile Chrome browser support. Currently, only Windows 8-powered tablets and Apple iPads get full access to Office Web Apps features. But as you can probably tell, this will change very soon.
Microsoft also aims to add a so-called real-time co-authoring feature to Office Web Apps, allowing users to see changes being made by their collaborators in real time. This is a subtle new addition that Microsoft has taken to describing as “a great enhancement to enable even richer collaboration.”
Of course, there are already several different mobile productivity suites available for Android. And most of them are free. Not to mention, Google itself offers a worthy alternative to Office Web Apps in the form of Google Docs. Still, it would be nice to see Microsoft bring its mobile Office suite over just to see how it compares. Maybe then it wouldn’t so quick to call the entire Android ecosystem as a mess.
Microsoft originally launched the Office Web Apps back in 2010. This launch had the web apps serving as companions to the full desktop Office experience, however improvements over the years have added mode features. Some of these improvements have dealt with collaboration and the ability to create documents and access Office content from a wide variety of devices.
On that note, it looks like Android users are being given some additional functionality. Microsoft has recently announced that Android tablet users will soon have the “full power of the Office Web Apps.” This means Android tablet users will be joining the Windows 8 tablet and iPad users. The Android support will arrive for those using the Chrome browser.
Some of the features here will include the ability to access Office content and tools as well as the ability to edit documents. Microsoft also has plans to add real-time co-authoring support within the Office Web Apps. Basically, this means users will be able to see the presence of others as well as any edits without having to refresh the page.
Microsoft has said they have already started offering this in the PowerPoint Web App and that “in the next few months” you will see this functionality getting “faster.” The above video gives a brief look at co-authoring with the PowerPoint Web App. Microsoft also has plans to add real time co-authoring support in the other Office Web Apps over the next few months.
Ballmer and Co. have just laid out what changes Office Web Apps will see over the next year and beyond, and it’s honing in on social features and more. Sure, the productivity suite already has collaborative document editing, but Microsoft is vowing to include real-time collaboration á la Google Drive, where users can see who’s currently working on a document while changes appear on the fly. The PowerPoint Web App is already packing the revamped experience, and the Office team promises that the real-time co-authoring will become faster as time goes on.
The OS titan also says it’ll incorporate a range of other improvements, including simplified file management, shortening launch times and even a find and replace feature for the Word Web App. In addition to the tweaks, Microsoft revealed that Android tablets will finally be able to access its online suite of tools, as it’ll begin supporting the mobile Chrome browser. The firm’s given itself the loose timetable of “over the next year and beyond” for the feature rollout, so avid users should sit tight for now.
A look back at the topic of Microsoft Office for Android shows a long list of possible launch dates and an equally long list of launch delays. We did at one point see a series of leaked screenshots, however much of the focus seems to be on when the office suite will be arriving. On that note, this latest mention of Microsoft Office for Android talks of another potential release date.
Or more specifically, in this instance, a potential release timeframe. The good part of this news, this release timeframe is so far out that we suspect this will be enough to finally push people away from the hoping and waiting. Well, that is assuming any Android users are still holding out hope of seeing Office arrive. Anyway, that timeline is fall 2014 — as in next year.
As to where these details are coming from, Mary Jo Foley writing for ZD Net has been passed a roadmap. The roadmap details the Gemini wave of Office updates which begins with Windows Blue app updates as part of wave 1.0. Part 1.5 goes into Office for Mac, an Office RT refresh and a Windows Phone support refresh with wave 2.0 being the Office for Android and iOS release. Wave 2.0 also includes Outlook RT.
According to the timeline on those waves, 1.0 is expected in October 2013, 1.5 is expected in April 2014 and 2.0 is noted for October 2014. Bottom line here, while we suspect some Android users have a genuine need for a Microsoft Office suite, given a release may not be coming for more than a year — now seems like as good a time as any to begin using an alternative such as Quickoffice and start getting comfortable because you still have a long wait ahead of you.
The new rumor says that Microsoft may only bring Office to Android and iOS devices in fall 2014, which means users interested to use Redmond’s productivity suite on certain smartphones and/or tablets will still have to wait a while. Earlier rumors said that an Office product for Android could be launched by mid 2013.
As for this new report, nothing is confirmed at this time, and Microsoft wasn’t willing to share anything “about the next set of updates to Office” with ZDNet. The publication writes:
Rumors about Microsoft’s plans to deliver Office for iOS and Android have been circulating for more than a year. Microsoft officials have never outright denied these apps were in development. A number of us Microsoft watchers heard from our various sources that these apps were on track to be delivered by early- to mid-2013.
Although it can’t be confirmed at this time, the mentioned roadmap reportedly dates back to early 2013. In addition to listing “Gemini Wave 2.0” – a project codename for the Office suite – for Android and iOS, the roadmap also lists other potential launch periods for future Office updates for other platforms, including Windows, Windows RT, Mac OS X and Windows Phone. Here’ how that “alleged roadmap” looks like:
Gemini Wave 1.0 (October 2013): Windows Blue app updates
Gemini Wave 1.5 (April 2014): Office for Mac; Office RT refresh; Perceptive Pixel support; Windows Phone support refresh
Gemini Wave 2.0 (October 2014): Outlook RT; Office for iOS/Android
We’ll keep an eye for future Microsoft Office updates, as future releases could confirm or deny the rumored scheduled above in future months.
An Android release may have to wait until PC, Mac, and Windows Phone updates are finished
An official Microsoft Office app release on Android is one of those things that seems to get further away as time goes on. The last notable rumor pegged Microsoft's suite of apps coming to Android in March of 2013. Nope.
The newest rumor, an alleged roadmap being reported by ZDNet, lists Office for Android coming in "Gemini Wave 2.0," or October 2014. The first two 'Gemini Waves' show Office updates for Windows Blue, Office for Mac, Office RT, Windows Phone, and possible Pixel support. Once the developers get these out of the way, the roadmap shows Android and iOS as next in line to receive Office.
While we’re still waiting for the folks from Samsung to officially announce their new Galaxy Note 8.0 tablet for the US, it recently was spotted at Office Depot for the somewhat high price of $ 399. After launching in the UK earlier this month a US release in imminent, but for now all we have are a few leaks suggesting an April release date.
After revealing their new 8-inch tablet that also manages to double as a smartphone back at Mobile World Congress, we’ve all been waiting to get our hands on it. Samsung’s designed a decent little 8-inch slate complete with their popular S-Pen stylus and now it looks like it could be hitting the US sooner than later.
According to recent leaks Office Depot has the slate online listed as coming soon (but out of stock) with a price listed at $ 399 for the 16GB model. Now I don’t know about you guys, but compared to the Nexus 7 for $ 199 that sounds a little high. That’s just our opinion. We’ll reserve judgement until Samsung confirms the details, but this could be the final price come release date. It also resembles the high price over in the UK.
The slate does rock an 8-inch 1280 x 800 HD display and Samsung 1.6 GHz quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM, but it only runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean at the moment. You can see our hands-on from the link below for a better idea of what to expect from this sleek slate, and we’ll report back when we hear anything official. If the Note 8 retails for $ 399 for the 16GB model will you be buying one?
The 16GB Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 Wi-Fi model has been spotted on Office Depot’s website, where it’s currently priced at $ 399.99 but listed as “out of stock.”
The tablet has already started selling in other markets including the UK and Australia, but we’re yet to see it in U.S. stores. It’s not clear whether Office Depot will start taking (pre)orders for the tablet soon, or whether it published the product’s page by mistake, well ahead of its launch in the region.
What’s clear is that the product is already listed by the retailer, which is an indication that Samsung may be getting ready to launch the device in the U.S. Also worth noting is that so far only the Wi-Fi version of the tablet can be found on Office Depot’s site.
Like in other markets, the 16GB Galaxy Note 8.0 Wi-Fi model is more expensive than its 16GB iPad mini Wi-Fi counterpart (priced at $ 329 in the U.S.), a product Samsung is trying to directly compete against with the new Note-branded tablet.
Anyone looking forward to buy this particular Note flavor?
Blue is to Windows as Gemini is to Office. Any questions? Well, that’s unfortunate — we don’t have a ton of answers. What we do know, courtesy of some top-notch ZDNet reporting, is that Microsoft’s next Office release is codenamed “Gemini,” and that it could be making its way to your desktop by the end of this year. The site quotes a potential fall ship date, at least for the first release, which is set to include new versions of Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint and Word. Rumor has it that the next version will be somewhat platform-independent, and will rely heavily on the Office 365 subscription concept. Beyond that, there isn’t really much to share, but you’re welcome to hit up our source link for a few more (minor) details.
If you picked up a Surface Pro or another pen-friendly Windows 8 tablet, you’re likely eager to wring every ounce of productivity out of that stylus. Microsoft hears your call. It just updated the OneNote app for Windows 8 to give pen customization a shot in the arm: a new radial menu makes it easier to choose a pen’s color and weight while saving favorite pens to quick-access slots. Whether or not drawing’s your thing, Microsoft has also simplified syncing with support for pulling in Office 365 notebooks, not just those stored on SkyDrive. Avid note-takers only need to grab the upgrade from the source link.