Following a report just a few weeks ago, which picked up on comments made by the Czech arm of the company, who noted that the mobile edition of Microsoft Office could hit iOS and Android as early as next March – (comments which were later described as “inaccurate” by Microsoft’s PR head) – The Verge this afternoon claims to have its hands on an actual preview build of ‘Office Mobile.’
“Office Mobile will debut in the form of free apps that allow Android and iOS users to view Microsoft Office documents on the move,” Tom Warren for The Verge writes in his exclusive on the software. “Like the existing SkyDrive and OneNote apps, Office Mobile will require a Microsoft account.”
Warren notes that once users have setup their account, “basic viewing functionality” will be available across the mobile editions of Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, with the ability to edit these documents first requiring the user to sign up for an Office 365 subscription – (no word on pricing just yet).
“Microsoft will allow iOS users to purchase an Office 365 subscription within the app, or let organizations distribute codes to enable Office Mobile editing for users,” Warren continues. “The apps will allow for basic editing, but we’re told this won’t go very far in attempting to replace regular full use of a desktop Office version.”
While many will be pleased to see the product actually exists and is thus on its way, we have to question whether Mobile Office is simply a watered down version of Microsoft’s desktop-based productivity suite — Too little, too late?
Is this really going to have the functionality needed to compete with Apple’s iOS-optimised, touch-enabled iWork suite? – We’ll soon find out. According to The Verge, the software is set to land on iOS first, (and then Android), in “early 2013.”
We’ll be sure to keep an eye out for the software becoming available for download, and provide our full thoughts and opinions once this happens.
For now, though, if you’re looking for a mobile productivity suite to take with you on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad, you may want to check out Apple’s own touch-enabled versions of Pages, Numbers and Keynote.