Microsoft has made the preview version of its Android productivity suite available on Google Play for the first time. Previously the three applications were available to users who signed up for the preview through a Google+ group.
The new apps are packaged separately, and more fully-featured than the existing all-in-one Office Mobile software that’s been available for some time. Of course, this is still an unfinished product, so bear in mind that some issues are bound to arise.
As noted by ZDNet, Microsoft seems to be considering putting the release of the Android version of its popular Office productivity suite ahead of the build for the company’s own Windows 8 operating system. Apparently the Windows version has been pushed back to 2015, while the Android variant is internally being planned for release by the end of 2014.
It certainly seems like an odd strategy to put your most popular software product on every competing mobile operating system before your own–image Apple releasing an Android version of its iWork suite before an Android version, or Google pushing out an iPhone app for a new product that has yet to launch on Android–but Microsoft’s “mobile-first” strategy dictates that the company simply push as much software to as many devices as it can without consideration for platform.
It’s a good plan for getting as much revenue as possible from Office, but it could also be seen as putting Microsoft’s own loyal users on the back burner to instead focus on those who use devices from the competition… and that’s probably not a great way to retain Windows users.
A few notable apps either launched or announced headlining news today, so 9to5Google gathered the most noteworthy ones in a roundup below. Our sister website, 9to5Mac, publishes app roundups on a daily basis, and now we attempt to do the same here for the most important changes happening in the Google Play store. We will also continually update this list throughout the day, so keep checking back for more details.
1. Angry Birds Star Wars
The highly-anticipated (and much-teased) Angry Birds Star Wars is now available in Google Play (video atop). Developer Rovio has long been working with the recently Disney-acquired LucasArts to bulk its popular app lineup with a Star Wars-themed iteration of Angry Birds that brings new creative and play experiences to the franchise.
The latest Rovio title ditches the traditional exploding/flinging Angry Birds for a slew of new bird characters each wielding a unique weapon. The Han Solo bird, for instance, halts enemies with a three-shot space gun. The game also features iconic Star Wars locations, 80 immersive levels, “hours and hours” of gameplay, fresh mechanics, and new level-up capabilities for birds.
Check it out:
Angry Birds Star Wars also landed on the Mac, iOS, Amazon Kindle Fire, and Windows 8 platforms today.
More apps below.
The Verge has learned through several sources close to Microsoft’s plans that the company will release Office versions for Android and iOS in early 2013.
Office Mobile will debut in the form of free apps that allow Android and iOS users to view Microsoft Office documents on the move. Like the existing SkyDrive and OneNote apps, Office Mobile will require a Microsoft account. On first launch, a Microsoft account will provide access to the basic viewing functionality in the apps. Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents will all be supported, and edit functionality can be enabled with an Office 365 subscription.
Microsoft is slated to unveil its next iteration of Office today, and The Wall Street Journal’s Shira Ovide is prepping the announcement with some comparison data about the productivity suite and its direct cloud-based rival Google Apps.
According to the WSJ’s video above, Dominion Enterprises held a $2 million annual contract with Microsoft, but it recently decided to switch to Google Apps. The company now pays $200,000 for Google’s services.
Despite the loss, the Office sodtware remains a hugely successful product for Microsoft. It is one of the company’s most profitable goods, and it continues to maintain a stronghold in the desktop productivity market. Google Apps, on the other hand, is still in its infancy, but it is rapidly gaining steam and attention.
Today’s announcement from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will surely set the pace for the company’s future against the ever-growing Google Apps.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based Company’s Vice President of Engineering and Director of Product Management Linus Upson reminded the world about the launch of Google’s Chromebooks last year, and then he unveiled the new Chromebook and the industry’s first Chromebox.
“Like its predecessor, the newest Chromebook is a fast and portable laptop for everyday users. The Chromebox is a compact, powerful and versatile desktop perfect for the home or office,” explained Upson in the blog post.
Google partnered with Samsung to produce the Series 5 550 Chromebook starting at $449. It boasts a 12.1-inch 1,280-by-800 display, six hours of battery life, 4 GB RAM, built-in dual band Wi-Fi 802.11, an optional 3G modem, an HD camera, two USB 2.0 ports, a 4-in-1 memory card slot, and a DisplayPort compatible with HDMI, DVI, VGA.
Samsung manufactures the $329 Chromebox with similar specs as the Series 5 550, but it carries six USB 2.0 ports, a 2x DisplayPort, a DVI single link output, and Bluetooth 3.0 and Kensington key lock compatibly. However, it lacks the 3G modem option and HD camera.
A gallery is available below.
Microsoft released the above Google-lambasting video on YouTube (ironically) yesterday to take aim at Google Apps and decry the Mountain View, Calif.-based advertising business of seedily selling productivity software “on the side.”
Microsoft takes a curious spin on “moonlighting” and calls its competition the “Googlighting stranger” while making many jabs at the search engine’s product. The mud-slinging does not stop at the end of the 2.15-minute video, however…
Listen, the recession has obviously helped Google Apps hit the ground running, but the number of high-profile organizations adopting the Google-hosted suite of productivity web apps is growing at an alarming rate (if you’re Microsoft, that is). Lately, Google has won over the #1 hotel chain and today we learn that The McClatchy Company, the country’s third-largest newspaper publisher, has made the switch.
“Historically, each newspaper has operated independently with on-premise software and their own various business operation departments and specifically IT. To date, our technology has been both destandardized and decentralized”, says Terry Geiger, director of corporate IT with The McClatchy Company. Blame that on Microsoft’s technology, he says…