Microsoft Launches Office for Android Phones

After a five-week beta evaluation period, the company officially launches Word, Excel and PowerPoint for Android smartphones.

Office for Android

Starting today, both Android tablet and 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.

"We are so grateful to our preview users, and with their help we were able to test the apps on over 1,900 different Android phone models in 83 countries," he wrote in a June 24 Office Blogs post.

"During the preview, we heard from thousands of these users, and over the last few weeks we were able to incorporate a lot of their feedback into the apps we're launching today," continued Koenigsbauer.

The official release also clears the way for Microsoft's partners to bundle the apps with their Android smartphones. "We've partnered with over 30 global, regional and local OEMs such as Samsung, Sony, LG and many more, to pre-load these apps on Android devices," Koenigsbauer said. "Many of these devices will be landing in retail stores later this year."

In March, Microsoft and Samsung announced that the Korean electronics maker would begin preinstalling the OneNote, Skype and OneDrive apps on its flagship Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge smartphones.

In a major push to popularize Office on Android, the companies revealed weeks later that they would also begin offering Office for Android on select Samsung smartphones and tablets. Microsoft announced the general availability of the Office for Android tablet apps on Jan. 29.

"We believe our suite of premium mobile products coupled with Microsoft's productivity services will offer users the mobility they need in both their personal and business life," said Samsung Electronics executive vice president Sang-chul Lee in a statement at the time.

Samsung remains the leading smartphone vendor, even accounting for the recent decline in sales the company is contending with and renewed competition from Apple, according to technology research firm IDC.

During the first quarter of 2015, the company nabbed 24.5 percent of the market with shipments of 82.4 million smartphones, a 7 percent decline compared to the same period a year ago. Second-place Apple shipped 61.2 million iPhones for 18.2 percent of the market.

"The challenge made by Apple for the top spot in the fourth quarter returned to a clear lead for Samsung in the first quarter, despite the soaring global demand for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus," observed IDC research manager Anthony Scarsella, in a statement.

"Samsung's shipments, given that the S6 was not launched into the market for the full quarter, were driven by large volumes into emerging markets and steady demand for its midrange and lower-priced smartphones." Samsung's new Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge proved so popular, the company decided to hike production in March.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...