When Microsoft launched Office for iPad last week, the company made it clear that its goal is to have the best version of Office on the respective platform it runs on. The Redmond-based company then later confirmed that native, Android tablet apps for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are also in the works, which we can take it to mean that it’d be touch-optimized like the Office iPad apps, and not just a scaled-up version of the Office Mobile phone app.
But what about other touch-focused platforms - you know, like Windows 8/8.1 with its Modern enviroment? (Yes, the current Office suite works on touchscreens, has a touch mode toggle that mainly resizes elements to better accommodate touch (and pen) input, but it’s far from being optimized for finger access.) Last year at Build, Microsoft has already teased us about a Modern-style version of Office, and today, we’ve more news.
As expected, charts, animations, SmartArt graphics, and shapes are supported, and file fidelity (i.e., the content and its formatting) is maintained across platforms and devices. And of course, files are saved to OneDrive. The UI is also very similar to desktop Office (Ribbon, anyone?) so it should be easy to pick up. While Microsoft didn't say anything about price, it's safe to assume that viewing and presenting documents are free, but if you need to create new content, an Office 365 subscription is needed. No release date is given (our guess: next year with Windows 9), but at least we know it's coming along quite well.