Microsoft Corporation yesterday announced that it will finally be releasing a set of Office applications for testing on handsets running the Windows 10 platform. After releasing a beta version of universal touch-friendly Office apps on desktops and tablets in the last few weeks, the tech giant is now promising to release the full version of the mobile suite by the end of this month. The long awaited touch-friendly application line by Microsoft will also allow a convenient transfer of files between devices for the universal app already available on iOS and Android platforms.

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When the consumer previews for the apps become available next month, it will be the first time Windows Phone users will have dedicated Word, Excel and Powerpoint apps that closely mirror their desktop equivalent. In adapting with new Microsoft strategy, phone and tablet apps are now universal standard, meaning they contain the same code, but are only adjusted to account for the different screen sizes.

Office apps have already been released for the Apple Inc. iPhone and iPad (last year), along with Google Inc. android-based smartphones and tablets in an ambitious bid to bring Office to every platform. The company’s reasoning behind serving its major rivals was that the Android and iOS platforms had dominated mobile computing and represented a bigger and more lucrative market for its Office products than its own Windows mobile devices.

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Microsoft will, therefore, be releasing two Office variations. One will be Office 2016, which is meant for desktop use and the other will be a touch-focused version that has been optimized for tablets and smartphones. Microsoft commented on its universal Office app, saying: “On a tablet, the Universal apps are fast, fluid, and streamlined for an immersive, hands-on experience. They’re fantastic for reading and perfect for touch- and pen-based content creation. On a phone, the Universal apps adapt to the smaller form factor. Commands and controls are moved to the bottom of the screen so you can triage your work and make edits one-handed with your thumb.”

Common practice dictates the new Windows Phone and tablet applications from Microsoft are only available as preview versions, which means installing Windows 10 Technical Preview is a must in order to access the latest offering. Basic functions of the touch friendly Office suite are free for all whereas advanced features require a subscription on Microsoft’s cloud-based Office 365.

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Microsoft says big changes are unlikely and most user feedback will go towards bug fixing and improving app stability.


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