Microsoft has been embracing Android as of late, with a number of new Android apps being released for phones as well as tablets, and even the long, long overdue arrival of Microsoft Office for Android. Right now, it’s still not as easy as it could be to get Microsoft Office up and running on Android, but it sure looks like Microsoft is getting more friendly with Android. This week, they’re introducing an app that’s pretty bizarre, but also probably something some users are going to find invaluable. Microsoft now offers their own Android Keyboard, but not in the traditional sense. Instead, this is a keyboard for Android Tablets, and one that spreadsheet fanatics will love.
The app is called ‘Keyboard for Excel’ in the Play Store, and is available as a free download for Android Tablets, yet curiously isn’t available on my Nexus 9. As you might expect, this is a keyboard that’s optimized for number entry and special characters. That’s pretty much the long and short of things here, and it’s certainly not meant to replace your default, everyday keyboard, but rather help you out when you’re crunching some mad numbers and dealing with crazy VLookUps.
In all seriousness though, this is a pretty neat idea from Microsoft, after all there are many things we can do on Android, and a lot of these things involve input. With Android’s flexibility when it comes to keyboards, why don’t we just change keyboards whenever we need them? We’re guessing that this is mostly Microsoft’s way of getting people to jump on board with Microsoft Office for Android, but we’d imagine that it’d take a little more than a fancy keyboard to persuade people to sign up to an Office 360 account.
This is one of Microsoft’s Garage projects, and as a result things aren’t completely polished. There’s no autocorrect here and it doesn’t look like Microsoft have thought of supporting some of the most popular tablets like the Nexus 7 and the Nexus 9. If there’s enough demand for the app though, we’re sure it’ll support more devices in time.