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By | Neil McAllister 6th January 2015 21:37

Microsoft flings Office apps for Android slabs at world+dog

Right, never mind that iPad, then

Microsoft has once again made its Office apps for Android tablets available for download, this time opening up the preview program to all comers.

The software giant first offered the fondleslab versions of its Android Office apps to a limited trial group in November, but shut down its sign-up page not long after, once it had enough participants.

As of Tuesday, anyone can download the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps, provided they have a tablet with a screen size between 7 and 10.1 inches that's running Android 4.4.x "KitKat" or later.

"We want more feedback from more users to ensure that Office apps work well on a range of different Android tablets before launching the official apps," Microsoft's Office 365 team said in a Tuesday blog post.

This isn't the first time Microsoft has released productivity software for Android devices. It launched the unified Office Mobile app in July 2014, but that version only ran on phones and wouldn't install on tablets.

Ironically, perhaps, the first fondleable version of Redmond's document-wrangling suite launched for the iPad last March – and, curiously enough, there's still no version available for Windows tablets.

Microsoft has said a touch-friendly version of the suite for Windows is coming – probably once Windows 10 launches – but the Android and iOS versions take priority for now. All things considered, that's probably not a bad strategy, considering the generally cool reception Windows slabs have received so far.

The final versions of the Office mobile apps are expected to be free. Editing documents on your device is possible using the software, we're told; "advanced" editing features will require an Office 365 subscription – which, conveniently, will be available as an in-app purchase.

As with the earlier, limited preview program, Microsoft has asked users of the Office apps for Android slabs to leave feedback on their official Google+ page. What is the world coming to? ®

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