Microsoft Office for iOS, Android RevealedIt has been a long wait, but we're finally beginning to learn a little bit about what Microsoft plans on bringing to Android and iOS for Office. What we're seeing isn't revolutionary, but it does help make mobile platforms that much more useful.
The first release of Mobile Office apps will be free apps that view Office files. Much like their desktop cousins, these apps would make it possible for those without Office to view documents made with it. Not terribly important, considering how many other similar apps are out there, but still, it's just a first step.
Within the app, you can unlock some editing ability by having a Microsoft Office 360 subscription--Microsoft's new subscription model for office that echoes what Adobe is doing with their creative suite. Unfortunately, the editing features are quite limited. Microsoft is maintaining the distinction between mobile apps and desktop apps, a distinction I've wanted to crumble for a long time.
An older press release stated that these apps will be released in March 2013, but since that has some age on it I wouldn't trust it too much. We're going to have to wait for Microsoft to decide that unveiling these apps is a good idea to find out for sure.
All in all, this isn't what I was hoping Mobile Office would be. I wanted an attempt at a full-fledged office suite, not a warmed over file viewer. Look, mobile platforms are here to stay. It's about time people started taking them seriously. Sure, there are other document editing suites out there, but for Microsoft to commit to bringing high quality apps to mobile...
We need to start working on filling out the productivity space for mobile. We don't have a good code editor, a good 3D modeler, etc. As these mobile operating systems move into the terrain of desktops and laptops, we're losing functionality.
This is the future. We're supposed to be adding functionality, not taking it away.