Microsoft reveal Office universal apps details, free for small tablets and phones

Yesterday Microsoft unveiled details of Windows 10’s consumer features and during the keynote they showed off new touch first Office apps for Windows 10 that are universal apps and will run on phones, tablets, laptops and desktops.

On the Office blog Microsoft have revealed details of the new version of Office for Windows 10 (Universal apps) and Office 2016 (desktop apps). The good news for Windows phone and small tablet users is that the new Office apps will be free (pre-installed) and for other Windows 10 devices it will be available to purchase from the Windows Store. The apps will be available with the Windows 10 Technical Preview which is coming soon. The new office apps are Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook Mail and Calendar all of which will run on any Windows 10 device (including phones) and work with touch and mouse. I for one will be glad to see the back of the old Windows 8.1 Mail app and replace it with the new Outlook app.

The traditional desktop Office Suite will be called Office 2016 and will be available in the 2nd half of 2015. You can read more about the Office apps on the Office blog.

Office for Windows 10 offers touch-optimized versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook that work great on small screen devices like your phone and tablet—all the way up to the Microsoft Surface Hub. They are designed from the ground up to run on Windows 10, built for touch and offer the unmistakable Office experience you know and love. As “universal” Office apps, they truly are the same app across device size, providing a consistent way for independent software vendors and developers to extend and integrate with Office apps.

These new Office apps will be pre-installed for free on phones and small tablets running Windows 10, and available to download from the Windows Store for other devices. The Office universal apps will be available with the Windows 10 Technical Preview in the coming weeks and general availability is on track for later this year.

Simultaneously, we are hard at work on the next release of the Office desktop suite that will be called Office 2016. (Unexpected, I know!) We will have more to share on Office 2016 in the coming months, but this suite will remain the comprehensive Office experience you’re long familiar with, best suited for a PC with keyboard and mouse. We have compelling new experiences coming as part of this Office suite–stay tuned to the Office Blog for more details. We expect to make Office 2016 generally available in the second half of 2015.

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