Last month, Microsoft released a version of Microsoft Office for the iPhone. Today, the company is adding one for Android — and if you paid attention to the iPhone one, you pretty much know what to expect.
I haven’t tried the Android edition yet, but like its iPhone cousin, it’s unapologetically basic, aimed mostly at folks who want to view Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents created on a desktop computer and maybe do some light editing. And rather than being a stand-alone paid app or a freebie, it’s a bonus for people who pay $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year for Office 365, the Microsoft offering that turns Office into a service by giving subscribers access to the newest version of the suite on multiple platforms — Windows, Mac, web, iPhone and now Android.
Microsoft says that this Android version of Office is designed for small phone screens, which means that the company still hasn’t introduced a version of the suite that’s truly optimized for tablets. (Office 2013, available for Windows and Windows RT, makes a modest nod towards tablets with more touch-friendly icons, but it’s still basically Office as we’ve known it.) If you’re still waiting for the much-rumored Office for iPad, I’d take a deep breath: I doubt that it’ll hit the market before the version that uses Windows 8’s Metro interface does. But given that Microsoft’s strategy is clearly to give paying Office 365 users access to their Office documents on all sorts of devices, I think there’s a good chance it’ll show up eventually.