Microsoft previews Office apps for Android phones

Redmond starts trialling Android phone versions of its productivity suite

Microsoft is rolling out previews of its Office apps to Android phones, as it brings the full functionality of its productivity suite to the smartphone operating system.

Similar to the Windows 10 Insider preview builds, the apps are currently only available in a trial, for which users can sign up through the Office for Android Phones Google+ community.

The suite of apps is designed to replace Android's existing Office Mobile app, which acts as a hub for Word and Excel documents.

Instead, the latest software will act as standalone versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint, offering much more flexibility and control when creating or editing files.

As part of Microsoft's cloud-oriented business model, the new apps will integrate with Dropbox and Onedrive cloud storage, allowing you to access and edit your documents from anywhere.

Jared Spataro, general manager for the Office 365 marketing team, said in a blog post: "Bringing these apps to preview first provides you with an early look at the apps, while enabling us to gather critical user feedback helping us shape and improve the app experience on a wide range of Android phones across the world."

The release marks the latest development in the company's 'mobile first, cloud first' strategy, spearheaded by CEO Sadya Nadella.

This business model has also seen the development of more functional Office apps for iPad and Android tablets, with the Android versions made available in January this year.

The tech giant is planning to create a series of universal Windows apps, which will work across all Windows 10 devices, including PCs, tablets, phones, Xbox, and more.

It's almost certain that the Office family will be among the first apps featured on this new system.

Microsoft has said that it will announce general availability of the apps later this year.

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