The Microsoft Office suite of apps for Android – Excel, PowerPoint and Word – have all been updated today with several new features and improvements. Perhaps the biggest new feature across all three apps is the ability to store your files on an SD card on your device. To this point you could only save your files in your device’s main storage. That can be problematic for those who do a lot of file editing on their devices, especially those with low storage devices. This new feature, which is across all three apps, should help solve that problem. There is nothing special you as a user have to do other than tell the apps to store on your SD card. Your device, however, must be running Android Lollipop or later to take advantage of this feature. All three apps now also give you the ability to annotate files. You can use a stylus or your finger to write, draw or highlight. These new tools found in the Draw tab, a new tab in each app.
Microsoft has rolled out a sizable update to their launcher app, Arrow Launcher, that brings some much needed support and improvements. The update, version 2.0 for those keeping score at home, brings native Office 365 support. This means that users of the launcher will be able to view files from their Office 365 account without actually having to launch the Office app on their phone. Further, for documents on your phone, you can upload them from the phone to your Office 365 account (OneDrive). It is a really nice update and while the lack of Outlook support for the calendar in Arrow remains an issue, this is a huge step towards fully “Microsofting” your Android phone.
Microsoft has once again updated their Android launcher app, Arrow Launcher, with some nice improvements. The update, version 1.4 for those keeping score at home, brings several improvements in user controls. For example, you can now hide page headers, a feature that many users of the launcher had requested. Users can also hid SMS preview on the People and Recent page. This change is done in the Settings of the launcher. Both of these changes represent the fact that Microsoft is indeed listening to users of their apps as both were heavily requested changes.
This morning, Microsoft has announced that they will be acquiring the social-meets-professional network for $26.2 billion. The agreement will keep LinkedIn as a separate organization within the Microsoft umbrella and LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner will remain on board as CEO of the company, now reporting directly to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
“The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world’s professionals,” Nadella said. “Together we can accelerate the growth of LinkedIn, as well as Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics as we seek to empower every person and organization on the planet.”
The news will certainly have a ripple effect through the tech sector today given the strategic nature of the move by Microsoft and the value of LinkedIn as outlined in this deal.
Microsoft has officially – and finally – released an official Xbox app for Android. The new app, which is more-or-less a replacement for the current Smartglass app (which you can still use), brings you an all new Home experience with an activity feed, see trending content, find friends and other Xbox centric activities all from your phone or tablet. For those of us who have the console, this new app is very much a welcome addition and shows, again, Microsoft’s commitment to their “mobile first” strategy by offering apps on both Android and iOS in addition to their own beleaguered Windows Phone platform. Up until this point, you could only get the app for Windows Phone.
The Skype team over at Microsoft have released a dramatically improved version of the voice and video communications app for Android. The new 7.0 version of the app is hitting the Google Play Store now and if you already have it installed, you should see the update hit your device via an OTA over the course of the next few days. The big improvement in this new update is the new Material Design inspired UI on tablets.
We’ve redesigned the tablet UI from the ground up, bringing a number of material design inspired elements.
The app also has a Floating Action Button (FAB) that makes it much faster to start a conversation or call with Skype app. That FAB is in both the tablet and phone versions of the app.
The Microsoft Android team has been busy. Earlier this morning I told you about a major update to the Next Lock Screen app for Android. Now the Office team has rolled out an update to the Android versions of Excel, PowerPoint and Word. All three of the updates are now in the Google Play Store and you should be seeing them hit your devices at any point. The big news in these updates is the addition of the Tell Me feature in the apps. If you aren’t familiar with Tell Me, you probably have it and don’t know it. If you run Office 2016 on your PC or Mac, at the top of any of the apps there is a search box titled “Tell me what you want to do”. Type in what you are wanting to do in any of the apps and it will give you instructions on how to do it. It is far faster than trying to dumpster dive into the menus of the apps. That same feature is now available in the Android versions of the apps so you can quickly figure out how to do something without having to search around.
Microsoft’s Next Lock Screen, their Lock screen app for Android phones, has had another significant update today, bringing a host of fixes and improvements to the app. The updated build is version 3.2 for those keeping score at home and the first thing you will notice is a streamlined and improved UI with a new color scheme. Microsoft is driving to emphasize that this app is very much location aware and their new logo and look are meant to reflect that fact.
If you aren’t familiar with Next Lock Screen, it is a lock screen app that provides you notifications, calendar updates and now an app usage aware quick launchpad all from your lock screen. It is actually a very informative and elegant lock screen app that gives you a good amount of information without having to actually unlock your device. So why use a lock screen app like this instead of the Android built-in lock screen? Mainly so you can get more customized information.
Today over at Amazon, you can take advantage of a sale the retailer is having on various Microsoft Office 365 subscriptions. The discounts vary by package but if you chose the Office 365 Home or Office 365 Personal, it gives you free access to the full features of the Office apps for Android on your phone or tablet. Even if you are already an Office 365 subscriber, you can take advantage of the sale.
Office 365 Home allows you to install the full Office suite on up to 5 PCs or Macs plus 5 tablets and 5 phones. That package is on sale today for $89.99, a savings of 10%. It is delivered to you by download (you will get the key to add the suite to your Microsoft Office account) and this isn’t just the web versions but the full PC or Mac versions too.
Microsoft’s latest improvement to their launcher app for Android, Arrow Launcher, brings more improvements and functionality to the app. For those who have tried it, Arrow Launcher gives a mult-page look to your phone that brings things like contacts, widgets, most used apps and reminders within easy reach and is designed for Android phones. The latest update, version 220.127.116.1162 for those keeping score at home, brings a handful of new features to the app. The biggest of those new features is integration with Wunderlist. With this update, all of your lists are displayed and you can set reminders for the app within Arrow as well.