Earlier in the year, Microsoft made their Android Office application free to use for editing documents, providing one was prepared to store documents into Microsoft's own cloud service, OneDrive. Thankfully, that restriction has been lifted and John covered Dropbox and Microsoft announcing a partnership earlier in the month, which would integrate Dropbox with Microsoft Office for Android Smartphones. Microsoft have today updated the application and the changelog details… actually just the one thing! Dropbox support is now baked into the application. Users can now open, edit and save documents with their Dropbox account using the Office application. And before everybody else chimes in: this is about time! Although I could also level this criticism at Microsoft for their late entry into the Android sphere, even if they have their own ecosystem to support (Microsoft Windows, which includes Windows Phone).
The Microsoft Office application provides support to open, edit and save Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel files straight on our Android smartphone, plus the ability to open a PowerPoint presentation. Unfortunately, we can't edit PowerPoint files. The application has a heavy bias towards cloud storage – which is why integrating Dropbox is an important step as not everybody wants to use the Microsoft OneDrive service. However, the application doesn't work on tablets, which is a point of real frustration for me because I do most of my productivity work on a tablet. Furthermore, Microsoft including support for Dropbox doubles the number of cloud services that work with the application from one to two; there's no Google Drive support, for example. And again, not everybody wants their documents to be stored with Google, but if you've invested in the Google infrastructure then there's a good chance that you use Google's cloud service. If this hat fits your head, I'm afraid you're still out of luck here.
We understand that Microsoft is working on a full Office suite for Android but we don't have a timescale for when this is released. Microsoft's other applications have on the whole been good efforts and I would hope that their Office suite will follow in these footsteps, but as things stand I can't recommend Office to tablet owners, or indeed anybody who handles documents outside of OneDrive and Dropbox. Of course, not everybody has a tablet or wants to edit documents so if this is you, why not grab the application here and see what it's like?