Microsoft Releases Office Apps for Android Mobile Devices

Today's topics include the availability of Microsoft Office for Android, the removal of a Google audio listening component from Chromium, Juniper Networks and Ruckus Wireless join forces to challenge enterprise networking giants, and new applications from HP for its Sprout immersive computing system.

Starting today, both Android tablet and mobile phone users can download the current versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint for their devices, Microsoft announced.

Despite the diversity of Android handsets, the software giant was able to release Office for Android Phones after a relatively short public beta period, said Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Office Client Applications and Services. The official release also clears the way for Microsoft's partners to bundle the apps with their Android smartphones.

Google has removed an audio listening component from the Chromium open-source browser after some developers complained the code was being quietly installed and activated on the browser without the user’s knowledge or consent.

However, the company flatly denied the so-called hotwording component was doing the same thing on its proprietary Chrome browser, and insisted that users had to proactively opt-in for the feature to go into active, listening mode.

Juniper Networks and Ruckus Wireless are combining forces to develop unified wired and wireless solutions that could challenge Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard, which is in the process of buying Aruba Networks.

The alliance will bring together Juniper—arguably the second largest wired networking vendor behind Cisco—and Ruckus, a fast-growing wireless networking company that is challenging the likes of Cisco, HP and Aruba.

Hewlett-Packard this summer will bring new applications to its Sprout immersive computing system that will include stop motion, video capture and real-time measuring capabilities.

The seven new applications, which will be available in the online Sprout Marketplace store, include Crayola Color Alive, which enables users to apply animated effects by using such colors as Fire-Breath and Ice-Blast.

Users can also save animated characters and use them in 4D environments. There is also Origami Apprentice, through which customers can learn the ancient Japanese art of folding origami paper figures via project instructions on Sprout's mat along with animated and verbal instructions on the system's screen.