I have a guilty secret when it comes to my mobile devices and tablets. About a month ago, I bought myself a HP Stream 7, which runs Windows 8.1 with Bing and includes a years worth of Microsoft Office 365. I have a 7.0-inch tablet that runs the full versions of Microsoft Office 2013. And I need to report that despite its flaws, full blown Microsoft Office running on a small, very portable tablet is quite an achievement. It’s a more capable document editor than Google Drive’s companion applications, but it’ll work with Google Drive if I install the appliccation onto the computer. However, for a few reasons the Stream 7 won’t replace my Nexus 7 and today there’s another reason: Microsoft are today releasing the final tablet versions of Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint. You’ll need a device running Android 4.4 Kit Kat or newer on an ARM processor, with at least 1 GB of RAM and a screen of 7.0-inch of larger.
I’m not so impressed at the concept of squeezing Microsoft Office into a tablet now that I’ve seen how well “real” Office 2013 runs on quite lowly hardware, but nevertheless Microsoft still deserve at least a small round of applause. The applications are free, after all. Unfortunately, they’re crippled without a Microsoft Account. Without the Microsoft Account, you’ll not be able to edit, save or print documents. You also cannot use these applications free on a device with a 10.1 screen or larger, as instead it requires an Office 365 subscription, which starts at $6.99 a month. This does allow you to synchronize documents across different devices, similar to how Google Drive currently works for free.
The source author writes about how the final versions of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint are very similar to their desktop cousins and this is good news (after all, Office 2013 runs on a 32-bit Windows 8.1 installation with just 1 GB of RAM). The layout, functions and features of the applications are very similar if not identical to the proper versions, too; with more time to test, there may be some differences between the applications, but if you’ve been looking for a full blown word processor, presentation application or spreadsheet manager with all of the functions you have on your desktop, Microsoft Office for Android is one answer.
On the other hand, Microsoft tie up their Office applications with Office 365, which requires a regular subscription (or buying new hardware cough). And for some users, the advantage of a full blown word processor or spreadsheet is negated by it being on a comparatively small screen. Google are constantly evolving Google Docs, Sheets and Slide and this software is effectively free and works on just about anything with a remotely modern version of Android. Do you find Google’s free software to offer all that you need or do you still find yourself looking for the full blown version of Office from time to time? Let us know in the comments below.