Microsoft Word Gets an Update

Microsoft Word Gets an Update

May 31, 2016

Microsoft Word keeps on getting tweaked, which is great for its users; the latest update is as follows:


• You’re the expert with Tell Me: Save time and focus on your work by finding the right command when you need it
• Merge and split cells: Merge cells to make a heading span across columns, or split cells to show the right level of detail

The app remains free (with in-app purchases) on Google Play.

Microsoft Office Suite Gets Updated

Microsoft Office Suite Gets Updated

Dec 3, 2015

The three apps that make up Microsoft Office Suite for Android are all getting updates which are rolling out now.

Microsoft Word is celebrating the fact that it is getting much smaller, amongst other things:


• Reduced app size:40-percent reduction in app size so the Word app is lighter and faster to install.
• Compliance in the enterprise: Word complies with Android for Work and supports Android M for Enterprise.
• Sign-in simplification: Selecting your sign-in details is easier than ever before.
• Cloud font support: Download your favorite font from the cloud so you can write with the fonts you like.

Excel is also boasting a slimmer waistline:


• Reduced app size: 40-percent reduction in app size so the Excel app is lighter and faster to install.
• Improved file compatibility: Now you can open files with Read-only recommended and Formula view.
• Compliance in the enterprise: Excel complies with Android for Work and supports Android M for Enterprise.
• Sign-in simplification: Selecting your sign-in details is easier than ever before.
• Cloud font support: Download your favorite font from cloud so you can write with the fonts you like.

PowerPoint is getting some major changes:


• Presenter view (Office 365 subscription required): Present like a professional! Check speaker notes on your phone/tablet, but control what the audience sees when you project to a large screen
• Compliance in the enterprise: PowerPoint complies with Android for Work and supports Android M for Enterprise
• Sign-in simplification: Selecting your sign-in details is easier than ever before
• Cloud font support: Download your favorite font from the cloud so you can write with the fonts you like

They all remain free on Google Play.

Microsoft Brings Scanning/OCR Utility Office Lens to Android OS in Preview Form

Microsoft Brings Scanning/OCR Utility Office Lens to Android OS in Preview Form

Apr 3, 2015

Microsoft has just introduced a preview of Office Lens on Android.

Office Lens is Microsoft’s scanning/OCR tool; it allows for the user to use the devices camera to take pictures of documents which can then be searched and indexed.

Office Lens is further proof of Microsoft’s willingness to pursue a cross-platform stradegy by ensuring that its applications are increasingly available on the most widely used mobile operating systems, even as it continues to work to increase the marketshare of its own Windows Phone platform.

To try out Office Lens Preview, one needs to join the Office Lens Android Preview Google+ Community.

Microsoft Outlook Preview Review

Microsoft Outlook Preview Review

Feb 3, 2015

I admit it: I still use the BlackBerry experience as my mobile email barometer. It probably explains my craving for combined email. Gmail doesn’t have it yet, but hey, it does well at other things.

Can’t blame a guy for looking though, and the recently released Microsoft Outlook Preview game me a great excuse to try something new.

Or new-ish, really. After poking around a bit, it does feel a lot like Acompli, the email utility Microsoft gaffled up a while back. The opening UI is bathed in whites and blues, with clean styling and subtle material design aesthetics.

Formally getting started involves adding an account; Outlook supports IMAP accounts, as well as email sourced from Yahoo, Google, iCloud and (of course) Exchange plus After the login and acceptance of permissions — there are several — the app gets the required tokens and signs in. I tried it with two Google emails to start, and the login process is mostly seamless, though it was necessary to tweak my IMAP folder setup.


By default, emails from different accounts show up combined, and the navigational aspects should feel quite familiar to anyone who has used the Gmail Android app. Tapping the three horizontal lines invokes the email folder slide-out, and from here, one can view unread counts as well as manipulate folders. On the main page, it gives one the option of checking “focused” emails, and there is a nifty “quick filter” function that allows one to pull up emails that are unread, flagged or have attachments.

The built-in calendar is a nice touch; it pulls in data from each Google account. It integrates with OneDrive, Box and Dropbox.


My biggest gripe has to do with the way the app handles Gmail labeling. I like the ability to file emails immediately, and frequently use multiple labels as appropriate, like when a “review request” also contains some “news.” This can’t be done on Outlook just yet; the email can be moved to one file, or none at all. I was a bit dismayed by the lack of integrated tasks, and would have loved some integration with other apps like Light Flow. The navigation seems a bit inconsistent; that back button got me lost more than once. Then, I would have dearly loved more swipe functionality.

Still, for a preview, it is a pretty nice option; it obviously has plenty room to grow. It has a good base, and with Microsoft’s cross-platform push, consumers win.

Microsoft Office Mobile Gets Update

Microsoft Office Mobile Gets Update

Dec 11, 2014

Microsoft seems to be standing strong in its commitment to providing a competitive disconnect solution for Android users, as evidenced by the latest update to Microsoft Office Mobile.

The latest refresh brings Lollipop support, high resolution device support and bug fixes.

Bing Rewards App Comes to Android

Bing Rewards App Comes to Android

Oct 20, 2014

Microsoft is bringing Bing rewards management capabilities to Android devices via its Bing Rewards app. The app is only available to US residents at the moment.

Bing Rewards is an incentive program that awards a limited amount of daily points for people that use Bing as their search engine of choice. These points can be redeemed for gift cards from some major retailers and internet shops like Amazon and Starbucks. For folks who are tempted to give Bing a chance over (gasp!) Google Search, this program might help with the decision to dip their toes in Bing’s pool.

The app allows users to earn credits, redeem them for awards, track arrival of rewards. It also allows for users to check their reward level, and how many credits are needed to get to the next level.

As noted, the app is available for US residents only; it can be downloaded from the Play Sore for free.

[Source: Androidcentral]

Microsoft Office Mobile Now Free for Android Phones

Tired of all the hype about Office Mobile for iPad finally becoming availale? Well, good news, Android user: Office Mobile, the app powered by the Microsoft Office 365 subscription service, is now free for Android phones. Just login, and now it’s possible to view, edit, and create Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations while on the go. The app is not available on tablets yet, but it can be installed if one has the APK for manual download, it’s just not optimized for that tablet interface. The app is available now from Google Play.

Source: Android Central

Microsoft Releases Xbox Music App For Android

Microsoft Releases Xbox Music App For Android

Sep 17, 2013

Xbox Music 3
One would think that Microsoft would announce an app for mobile devices with a lot more fanfares – especially if it was a part of its own XBox network. XBox Music is a part of XBox’s functionality, which can be described as iTunes, but from Microsoft. The app seems to work great as a challenger to Google Music for the XBox users. The only problem is you have to have Windows 8 on your PC, if you want to move your music collection to the phone – and have an unlimited music pass. XBox Music on Google Play

Want to Switch to Windows Phone? Microsoft Has an App For That on Google Play. Seriously.

Want to Switch to Windows Phone? Microsoft Has an App For That on Google Play. Seriously.

May 1, 2013

Android’s a funny platform. Because its store is open, it’s possible to actually promote different operating systems on it pretty easily. Like if you’re Microsoft and want people to switch to Windows Phone, you can release an app on Google Play called Switch to Windows Phone where it will check for apps that are installed on an Android device and see if they’re available on Windows Phone. You know, so if people were curious, they can definitely know what’s available. Try doing that on iOS!

Well, that’s exactly what Microsoft has done: you can download an app that will check to see if the apps on your Android device are also available on Windows Phone. And if you log in with your Microsoft account, it will save the list to the cloud for if and when you switch over, you can easily re-download them. And Google allowed this through. Hilarious.

Actual Android users have found this not so hilarious, though: the app has a rating of 1.5 stars, with a smattering of user reviews complaining about Windows Phone, but others saying that the actual accuracy of the lists is rather suspect.

If you’re interested in seeing what’s on Windows Phone, the app is available from Google Play. And if you do make the switch…don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

The Hills Are Greener: Playing Ball

The Hills Are Greener: Playing Ball

Dec 17, 2012

It’s been a bad week for interoperability. First Instagram turned off support for Twitter Cards after Twitter had earlier shut down Instagram’s API access for finding friends. Then Google announced that they are largely shutting down Exchange ActiveSync access, keeping current connections open and keeping it for paid Google Apps accounts, but shutting down new connections for all other Google users. This is potentially perpetrated by the fact that Microsoft licenses several patents to Android hardware vendors, which Google is not fond of. So, they stop licensing the technology from Microsoft, and deal Windows Phone a blow as this was the main way that those phones would connect to Gmail. Now, users may be left without an alternate built-in solution.

It also has the secondary effect of removing push email for iOS users in the default Mail app. Now, they must either use fetch email or go to the official Gmail app. Sneaky move, Google.

There is a clear-cut problem with all these squabbles: users lose. Great features that people frequently used are being taken away not because of any kind of technical reason, but because those who offer the technologies are fighting like children over playing with each other’s toys.

The great thing about technology, especially platform-agnostic technology,, is that users are not bound to one service. They interconnect with each other, and it doesn’t matter where a user is sharing from, or what they are using: because these technologies are meant to work with each other, to allow others to contribute and take part, it is a better experience for users. And now, this is being threatened because of politics.

Well, that and money. Facebook and Twitter are clearly on opposing sides and, Twitter feels innately threatened by Instagram’s photo microblogging, which has at times been more popular on mobile than Twitter. Major revenue and profits are in play here.

But ultimately, the disturbing fact is this: while these companies and services are all-too-willing to build themselves on top of each other’s platforms and services, the second it becomes politically inconvenient, they’re willing to shut them off, and it’s the users that rely on these features that get caught in a lurch because of it.

Xbox 360 SmartGlass Makes Its Way to Android

Xbox 360 SmartGlass Makes Its Way to Android

Oct 30, 2012

With the new Xbox Dashboard rolling out around the world, it’s time for the world to finally experience SmartGlass, originally announced at E3. While reports were that the Android version was far off, it turns out they were wrong as the Android version of SmartGlass is available now, and I’ve taken it for a test run.

First off, device availability is somewhat limited, apparently to only certain smartphones. Microsoft claims that it’s “available for most Android 4.0+ smartphones, with WVGA screen resolution or higher.” Nexus 7 owners weep bitterly as it’s currently officially unsupported. There’s a limited selection of games and movies that take advantage of SmartGlass as a second screen, but what’s available now is the remote control of an Xbox. No more looking for that remote or turning on a controller when trying to watch Netflix!

Setup is easy: just log in with the same Live ID as is set up on the Xbox’s currently-logged-in profile, and access is granted. Recent games are available, new games and media can be searched for, and played back on the Xbox. Users can customize their profiles, including their bio and motto, and most importantly: avatar customization! Buying new items has to be done on the Xbox itself, as while customization can be done while the Xbox is off, there’s no way to actually buy things from the app. Messages can be sent to friends. The phone can work as a software keyboard for the Xbox, making text typing just that much easier. Also, menus can be easily navigated using the app.

The peanut butter to Xbox’s chocolate is clearly Internet Explorer. Seriously, through some light testing of this browser, it’s actually rather capable! It’s built for the 10-foot experience, it supports mobile websites as a backup to clunkier desktop ones, and it just overall has the feel of Microsoft legitimately putting some work in to it. Don’t let the bad memories of the PS3 browser sour the experience of Internet Explorer on the 360. Don’t let the name signal bad things, either!

But where SmartGlass on Android comes in is that it serves as a remote mouse and keyboard. The Android device can serve as a mouse by swiping around with the finger, tapping to click links. A scroll bar is available down the right edge of the screen. A software keyboard pops up when typing in URLs or forms. Most interestingly, it’s possible to open up links on the phone’s browser by tapping the ‘download’ button.

While its core functionality really just expands what the My Xbox Live app did earlier this year, it’s still an extremely handy tool for Xbox owners. SmartGlass is available from Google Play.

The Hills Are Greener: Why Google and Microsoft Are Getting Into Hardware

The Hills Are Greener: Why Google and Microsoft Are Getting Into Hardware

Jul 2, 2012

These are dark days for OEMs who manufacture hardware built on other providers’ OS, because their days may be numbered. Google and Microsoft, manufacturers of the biggest smartphone and desktop operating systems in the world, are moving into Apple’s realm of not just selling software, but the hardware it runs on too.

As Mark Panzarino, editor at The Next Web tweeted, it appears as if Microsoft and Google are realizing the combination that Apple has worked with for decades: hardware and software is the key to success. It allowed Apple to build itself up for years, and then once they had their mass-market hit in the field of iOS products, they became the biggest company in the world. Literally.

Microsoft fired their big shot into the arena of total vertical integration with the Surface. The buildup to this position from Google has been slow but pronounced. The Motorola Mobility acquisition was important for them, frankly, to start making money off of Android by selling the hardware as well. Though, Motorola is still independent, and may not show signs of its Google acquisition for a while. Wait until they make a Nexus device, even though the Xoom was basically the first Nexus tablet in that it was designed as a “Google Experience” device, and it’s among the initial wave of Jelly Bean devices.

Really, the clue to Google’s intentions is in the expansion of the Nexus brand. It’s becoming less of a way for Google to ensure that there’s at least one or two devices running stock Android out there. They’re going to use it to establish themselves, to prove their standing in the Android world, with the possibility that they can stand on their own eventually. Yes, they’re involving those that build branded Android devices in the manufacture of some of these Nexus devices, but it’s a Trojan horse. Each one is ultimately establishing Google’s place as a manufacturer of hardware as well as software.

This kind of vertical integration is very risky, because it takes many moving pieces to come together in the right way. It’s not just about making quality hardware and a core operating system, but about also having the software and media to help support it long-term. But Apple shows that it can be a jackpot. The iPhone has undeniably changed not just cell phones but computing as a whole. The iPad has defined a new type of computing, and it has Google and Microsoft trying to get even a small but significant part of the marketplace.

Right now, Google and Microsoft find themselves in a tricky situation: they have to make major shifts to their business models, selling hardware and media to go along with their standard software and services offerings. And they have to do this under the noses of the OEMs that have made their software and services what they are today.

Of course, the OEMs, by building on top of the backs of others’ work, may have put themselves in a perilous situation to begin with. After all, if the software creators stop supporting them, then where will they go? The next few years will be one of tremendous upheaval in the technology industry, and those who have the most control of their product will be the ones left standing.