In early 2014, Microsoft released their Word, Excel, and PowerPoint applications for the iPad. Launching their Office suite on platforms other than Windows was something that they had seemed reluctant to do for many years, and so the release of Office on iOS was a pivotal moment for the company. Even more surprising was the fact that iOS received a touch optimized version of Office before Windows did. Unfortunately, users of Android tablets seemed to be left out in the cold, and there was no indication of if or when the applications would make their way over to Google's mobile operating system. But in November 2014, Microsoft released preview versions of their Office applications for Android so they could perform testing and accumulate feedback from users.

Today the Office for Android applications are graduating from their preview status to become complete supported applications that Microsoft feels are ready for widespread use. According to the company, the three applications received a combined 250,000 downloads during the preview period, and were installed on over 3000 different Android device variants. Microsoft's system requirements for the final versions of Office on Android are a device with 1GB of RAM or more, an ARM based SoC, and Android 4.4.x KitKat. Devices between 7" and 10.1" will be able to use the apps for free, while devices larger than 10.1" will require an Office 365 subscription to have access to creation and editing features. Microsoft indicates that the applications are functioning on Android 5.0 Lollipop, but that it is not currently supported. Users of Intel x86 tablets will have to wait for a support update that will be arriving later in the year.

Source: Microsoft Office Blog

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  • UpSpin - Thursday, January 29, 2015 - link

    So they want me to pay $70 per year, to use a feature reduced version of Word/Excel/Powerpoint: "Within each app, we’ve prioritized the most important features for mobile scenarios." Am I right? So this is NOT comparable to the desktop Office, again?

    Btw., as far as I understood, there's no free version at all either: "When you use the apps for personal use, core editing is free and premium features require a qualifying Office 365 subscription" So even on a small Android device, you only have access to 'core editing' features, whatever this means. On large Android devices, you can't do anything at all without a subscription.

    A comparison with Softmakers Office HD: would be really interesting, especially because Office HD has all Office features for a fraction of the price MS wants for a stripped down version.
  • sherifone - Thursday, January 29, 2015 - link

    Have you used Office on iPad and Android? It seems like you're pooping on it for no reason. I use Word and Excel on my iPad all the time and it is great. It integrates well with OneDrive and meets all my needs for basic document creation.

    I'm very happy to have an officially supported Office and Outlook client available on mobile. I'm mostly a Mac, iOS, and Android guy - and it is nice to have a suite to do work that isn't butt ugly or has random incompatibilities with Office documents.
  • UpSpin - Friday, January 30, 2015 - link

    No, I haven't used Office on iPad or Android, because I don't own a 365 subscription. I also don't use Softmaker Office HD, because I own a Nexus 5 only and no Android tablet yet, thus I use WPS Office so far. However I own Office 2010 and use it on a tablet PC regularly.

    I don't think I'm pooping on it for no reason. I think my questions are reasonable and worth some further investigation.
  • trekinator - Thursday, January 29, 2015 - link

    There was a bunch of Softmaker Office HD spam on Ars Technica's corresponding Office for Android article. Kind of interesting to see something similar as the top comment here.
  • Alexvrb - Thursday, January 29, 2015 - link

    Paid adver-posting.

    Anyway having an active sub to Office 365 gets you Office on your PC or Mac and your tablet, anywhere you go you take Office with you. So it's silly to say you're paying for it for just your tablet. If you need it for the family there's Office Home... up to 5 users, 5 PCs/Macs AND 5 tablets. There's also the massive amount of cloud storage thrown in.
  • UpSpin - Friday, January 30, 2015 - link

    In my case I own the full Office 2010 suite for Windows and there's no reason for me to 'upgrade'. Because I want to have my documents private, I also don't care about cloud storage. So yes, for me it would be just paying for the tablet. That's why I ask for a comparison and for a list of missing features compared to the desktop version.
  • Flunk - Thursday, January 29, 2015 - link

    Actually, they're free. I don't know where you got $70 from.
  • Flunk - Thursday, January 29, 2015 - link

    "Premium Features" are cloud-based services.
  • UpSpin - Friday, January 30, 2015 - link

    Thanks, on the MS blog post they haven't clarified what 'premium features' meant.
  • eanazag - Thursday, January 29, 2015 - link

    You're also entitled to a copy for PC or Mac, plus Windows or iPhone apps, plus 1TB of OneDrive, and updates to all those apps.

    I signed up for the free Office on iPad apps and there were about 5 features unavailable of which I could live without. In all honesty, the majority of people don't need to pay unless you want Office on a computer or looking for cloud file sharing like OneDrive.

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