IT Blogwatch Microsoft

FREE: Outlook for iOS and Android, plus more mobe Office goodies

Some features hide behind 365 paywall, though

IT Blogwatch Microsoft

Show More

Microsoft is proud to unleash more 'free' mobile apps for iOS and Android. Along with the new Outlook app -- based on Acompli -- the Android tablet versions of the other Office apps are now fully supported, being no longer in preview.

Here's the latest step in Satya Nadella's strategy of going where the users are.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers go where the news is.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.

Andrew Cunningham sits on it:

Unsurprisingly, the final apps don't differ much from the previews or from the iOS versions of the Office apps that launched early last year. ... The short version is that they're touch-optimized subsets of the flagship Office desktop applications. ... They maintain the fidelity of documents you've created in the desktop versions of Office and they offer most of the features that home users will need to get by.

A handful of things are locked behind an Office 365 paywall, but even with a free account you get a level of functionality that's more-or-less equivalent to the Office Web apps that come with a OneDrive subscription. ... The apps also feature Dropbox integration if that's [what] you prefer. ... The one thing [it] lacks is support for phones, which are still stuck with the older, more limited Office Mobile.

It's optimized for ARM Android tablets between 7 and 10.1 inches...and include 1GB or more of RAM. ... The apps aren't yet "optimized" for for Android 5.0 will be improved in a future update. ... Android tablets above 10.1 inches in size will require an Office 365 subscription.  MORE

And Frederic Lardinois drops the other shoe:

Microsoft today launched Outlook for Android and iOS...based on the application it acquired when it bought Acompli last December. ... These new apps will replace all of Microsoft’s current (and somewhat confusing) range of Outlook-branded apps...over time.

Microsoft has...added a few minor Office-app like touches, including a colored ribbon-like UI, but if you’ve ever used Acompli’s apps, the new Outlook apps will mostly feel like a rebrand [which] probably speaks to how good the Acompli apps were already. ... Just like Acompli before it, Outlook will support Office 365, Exchange,, Yahoo! Mail and Gmail, as well as most other email providers.

The Android version is still officially in preview and not officially supported yet [because of] Android’s broad hardware ecosystem.  MORE

Great news, everyone! (Microsoft's Julia White seems to say):

Our goal [is to] bring the power of Office everywhere – to everyone, on every device. [But] we’ve only scratched the surface...we are making two important announcements that continue this journey.

We are pleased to announce that...Word for Android tablet, Excel...and PowerPoint...will be available in the Google Play store as free downloads. ... To access premium features, sign up for an Office 365 subscription. Also...we’re pleased to announce our new Outlook for iOS and a preview version of our new Outlook for Android. ... We are thrilled to fulfill this for our customers.  MORE

So Mary Jo Foley knows all about it:

San Francisco-based email app vendor Acompli -- headed by former execs from Zimbra and VMware -- launched [the] iOS April 2014, and an Android version in September 2014. The...applications featured an integrated calendar, as well as Exchange and Gmail integration.

Microsoft also announced today that it is removing the "preview" tag from its Office for Android apps. ... (OneNote for Android is already available [on the] Google Play store.) ... Support for Intel-based Android tablets with these Office apps will be coming within a quarter, officials said.

Microsoft officials said there were 250,000 downloads of the preview versions of the Office for Android apps. There also have been 80 million downloads of Office on iPad and Office on iPhone apps combined as of this week, according to Microsoft.  MORE

But What's the Outlook app for? Peter Bright shines a light:

Announcing the app's availability, former Acompli CEO Javier Soltero...said that Acompli users dip into the app for, on average, 24 seconds at a time. Much of the time, they perform what Microsoft calls e-mail triage: deciding whether an e-mail should be deleted, flagged for follow-up, or merely marked as read. Similarly, meeting invitations can be quickly accepted, rejected, or rescheduled.

This is the shape of Microsoft's e-mail experience going forward, and it's coming to iOS and Android first.  MORE

You have been reading IT Blogwatch by Richi Jennings, who curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don't have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

Shop Tech Products at Amazon