November 9, 2012

Office for Android And iOS?

Microsoft Office is finally coming to Android and iOS devices. A story in The Verge has an alleged screenshot and a terse confirmation of a forthcoming application from Microsoft.  Such speculation about some kind of Office app for iOS devices has been around since the App Store launched.

It may not be as consequential for those on Android, who already have a pretty good experience editing and keeping filed synced up with Google Drive. It works pretty well on an Android phone, and even better on a Nexus 7 or 10.

When I first started reviewing apps for the iPhone and iPad, one of the many questions I would get was, “Is there Office?” While I felt trying to peck away at documents on a glass screen was a strange concept, I was wrong to be so dismissive. Both the App Store and Google Play have entire sections devoted to productivity and working with documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.

Additionally, some of the top companies who build similar mobile apps have been swallowed up by larger companies. Documents To Go, which used to be the dominant player when Palm built phones, is now property of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (which will probably soon be property of someone else). Quickoffice is now part of the Google universe.

Given this , Office for iOS or Android could be attractive for many. Those who are in a corporate environment and rely on Office would love to see such integration. While good functionality exists in services like Evernote for keeping notes in sync, many still need this with documents and spreadsheets.

In order to succeed, Office would need a strong tie to SkyDrive, Box, SugarSync or other cloud services. And of course it goes without saying that it should be better than good. Many mobile users have already adopted their preferred applications for productivity, so a solution from Microsoft would need to be elegant and effective to get a second look.

Image Credit: Microsoft

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