Microsoft debuts Office Mobile app for Android smartphones

The tech giant brings Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to Android mobile devices; but take heed, it's only available to Office 365 subscribers.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
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What Microsoft Word looks like on Office Mobile for Android. Microsoft

Microsoft appears to be spreading the reach of Office on mobile devices. The tech company announced Wednesday that it's now bringing the Office Mobile app to Android.

While Office fans will likely welcome this app addition to the Google Play store, there's a slight catch: the app is free to download but will only work for subscribers to Microsoft's Office 365 Home Premium and ProPlus service.

Office Mobile for Android lets you edit docs on the go (pictures)

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"The release of this app shows that we're committed to keep providing additional value for Office 365 subscribers," Microsoft senior product manager Guy Gilbert wrote in a blog post.

Office Mobile for Android includes access to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The programs aren't meant for document, spreadsheet, and presentation creation. Rather, they're aimed at helping Office users make quick fixes to existing work, and share those files.

The app includes several features that let Office 365 subscribers pick up files on their phones where they left off on their PCs. The files, like all Office 365 documents, will sync with Microsoft's SkyDrive Web storage service.

Office 365 costs $100 a year and offers subscribers the ability to install Office apps on up to five devices such as PCs, Macs, and smartphones. There is still no support for Android tablets or Apple iPads.

Microsoft has tried to leverage the widely used Office, which is preinstalled on mobile phones running its Windows Phone operating system, to eke out market share in the smartphone business that's dominated by devices running Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating systems.

News of the Office Android app comes on the heels of Microsoft also bringing Office to iOS. The tech giant debuted Office for iOS in June and much like the Android app it only is available to Office 365 subscribers.

The Office app is immediately available in the Google Play store in the U.S. and will become available in more countries within the next few weeks. The app only works on Android devices running the 4.0 operating system or greater.