Microsoft is apparently prepping a mobile version of its popular Office suite for the iPad, iPhone and Android devices.
Initial reports indicate that Redmond plans on launching Mobile Office for both Android and iOS in early 2013.
According to Tom Warren of The Verge, Office Mobile will make its long-awaited debut in the form of free apps that allow Android and iOS users to view Microsoft Office documents on the move.
A Microsoft account will be required, with the free apps offering preview access to Word, PowerPoint and Excel documents.
However, full edit functionality will require a paid Office 365 subscription – which can be purchased within the app, or enabled via distribution codes assigned by businesses and corporations.
“The apps will allow for basic editing, but we’re told this won’t go very far in attempting to replace regular full use of a desktop Office version,” Warren explained.
As noted above, Mobile Office is expected to go live in early 2013, with the iOS version slated to roll out in late February or early March, and the Android iteration due in May.
Microsoft seems to have confirmed the above-mentioned story by issuing the following official statement: “Office will work across Windows Phone, iOS and Android.”
In the meantime, there is always Google Docs – which is free – for both viewing and editing Microsoft documents and spreadsheets.
Quite frankly, I’ve always thought the anticipation and hype surrounding Microsoft Mobile (for Android and iOS) is somewhat overblown. Google Docs is probably fine for most mainstream users, most of whom have absolutely no need or interest in 90% of Office features.