Microsoft Office for iOS tipped for March, Android due later
The new Office apps will give you basic file viewing, but it's reckoned you'll have to pay for the privilege of editing documents.
Luke WestawaySenior editor
Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.
Viewing and editing Microsoft Office documents on a smart phone is every child's dream, and now it looks like that dream may have a release date. The much-anticipated Office apps for iOS and Android have been tipped to land in the first few months of 2013 -- although it seems Android fans may be kept waiting a little longer.
The Verge cites "several sources close to Microsoft's plans", who reckon the software will arrive for iOS devices in late February or early March, while the Android edition is scheduled for May -- two months later.
That could prove a frustrating delay for fans of Google's green robot, but developers have been known to take longer to get Android apps out the door.
The BBC, for example, blames device fragmentation, among other factors, but you'd hope Microsoft would have the clout to release apps simultaneously across platforms. We'll just have to wait and see.
The upcoming Office apps will reportedly let you ogle Word, PowerPoint and Excel documents, though to do so you'll need to sign in using a Microsoft account. Even then there's no editing allowed unless you purchase an Office 365 subscription.
Office 365 subscriptions come in several different flavours, but the 'small business' edition that gives you web-based document viewing and editing costs £4.25 per month, so it's possible that's how much you'll be asked to fork out to use these new apps.
It's reckoned you'll be able to buy a subscription from within the app, so at least Microsoft would be making it convenient to deprive you of your hard-won cash in exchange for tinkering with files from your phone. It's not expected that editing will be as fully featured as the regular ol' desktop version of Office.
It's hardly the most exotic software on the horizon, but for the millions of people out there who use Android or Apple gadgets and rely on Office for work, this could be a life-saver -- even if Microsoft's charging you or your company for the privilege.
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