In November, Microsoft announced it would be bringing Office apps – like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint – to Android tablets via an invite-only preview. This week, however, the company has opened the preview up to any Android tablet user who wants to give it a try.

When I tried signing up for the closed preview, I was stymied by the fact that I was unable to download the apps for my Nexus 9 tablet, which runs Android 5, aka Lollipop. The apps, however, were built for devices running KitKat, so despite the fact that I was “in,” I was still out. Now that the apps are on the Google Play Store, however, I was able to get started downloading the Office preview and, upon starting it up, immediately connecting  my Dropbox account. I was advised that the apps would run best on KitKat, but I was still able to get the app to start and even open and start editing a document, easy peasy. Sure, I only spent about a minute, but that’s a promising enough start for me.

Launching the app did, however, crash the music app I was using just beforehand, so I suppose there are definitely a few kinks to iron out before Office for Android Tablets is ready for primetime.

Apparently the apps feature in-app purchases, ranging from a buck to $9.99 per item. As to what, exactly, these apps are, I can’t say for sure. It seems likely that it includes buying OneDrive storage or different Office 365 subscriptions. However, I didn’t see any places to spend any money when I started poking through the app’s menus. Oh, well – I’m sure Microsoft will find a way to ask me to spend money.

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As an extensive Microsoft Word user, this new Android Tablet version of the app seems pretty legit so far. I’ve made decent use of the app on the iPad, and while it does a good job of replicating Word, the quirks of Apple’s tablet prevented me from fully enjoying it. One of the biggest issues, for example, is the lack of a file explorer, meaning that saving files to the device was a bit of a hassle. Office for Android Tablets, on the other hand, seems to let me do this with no problem – now all I need is to grab that fancy keyboard folio for the Nexus 9 and I’ll have yet another mobile computing option ready to go.

[Word for Android Tablets, Excel for Android Tablets, PowerPoint for Android Tablets]


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