Microsoft has taken its sweet time getting Office rolled out to platforms not named Windows or OSX, but the suite finally debuted on iOS and now has made its way to Android — phones, not tablets. The latter certainly will follow at some point, but customers now have a taste of what to expect.
Aside from the lack of tablet support, there is one more catch you should know about up front — this will require you to have subscription for Office 365 Home Premium. The good news here is, although this will set you back $9.95 per or $99 per year, you can install Office on up to five computers and now, in addition, you also get five mobile devices. Plus, the service provides customers with an extra 20 GB of SkyDrive storage and 60 minutes of Skype credit per month.
To get started, head over to the Google Play store and grab the app, which is free. Clicking the Install button (if you are going about this from the web) will produce a drop-down menu that displays all of your Android devices (including Google TV). Devices that are compatible will be listed in black, while those that are either not compatible or already have the app installed, will be greyed out.
The app brings Excel, Word and PowerPoint to your device, though Microsoft already has Outlook and OneNote apps available in the Play store. The new Office Mobile for Office 365 also allows users to grab files that are stored in both SkyDrive and SharePoint. The documents you’ve recently viewed on your computer are readily available on your phone in the recent documents panel.
You can also view and edit Office documents attached to email messages and the app supports charts, animations, SmartArt Graphics, and shapes.
When you first boot up the app you will need to log into your Office 365 account — you will only need to do this once. You will then be taken to the main screen, which will show you the included apps, as well some Word and Excel templates, along with options for opening existing documents, as well as creating new ones.
Settings are found at the top of the screen and provide access for entering your name, just as desktop Office does when first installed. There also options for resetting the app and accessing the help information. Beyond that there are few options included.
The app is extremely easy to use, though even a large phone is still a rather small for dealing with these apps. Hopefully Microsoft will soon release a tablet version.