Will Windows Phone 8.1 see a new version of Office?
With all of the excitement over the release of Microsoft’s Office for iPad, the newly free-to-use versions of Office Mobile for iPhone and Android phones, as well as the reveal of a touch-friendly version of Office for Windows 8 tablets at Microsoft’s Build conference… it got me wondering if Windows Phone would ever see a more comprehensive version of Microsoft Office. Since Windows Phone 7 was released back in 2010, the only real changes to the mobile Office suit was removing OneNote from the Office hub and giving it its own app icon. Microsoft has said that the mobile Office is mainly for reviewing documents, adding comments, and very light editing. The editing capabilities are extremely light! In Word, you can choose 3 colors for type. You don’t have any default or custom styles to choose from. No headings, no tables, no footers, no print view layout, no lists, etc. Yeah, pretty weak!
Excel on Windows Phone 8 is very slim, too. Again, you have only 3 colors to choose from in the formatting menu. You can do some filtering, formulas, finding, and sorting, but that’s about it. You can create some graphs, but they’re nowhere near what’s possible with the Windows version of Excel.
PowerPoint on Windows Phone isn’t even capable of creating new files. You can only open existing files, and even then your editing capabilities are limited to changing some type and rearranging the order of slides. There isn’t even an interface for adding review comments.
To be fair, the Microsoft Office Mobile apps for iPhone and Android phones are exactly as limited as the Windows Phone version. However, remember Microsoft’s previous mobile device operating system? The old Windows Mobile included a mobile version of Office that had far more features than the current incarnation. That’s right, in the Windows Mobile days, you could get work done in Office Mobile on your smartphone with more functions than any Office Mobile version today.
With Microsoft’s BUILD conference this week, we’ve already heard about some great new features in Windows Phone 8.1. Will we hear anything about Microsoft Office for Windows Phone? Will it be practically the same version of Office we’ve had on Windows Phone for 4 years now? What other features in Microsoft Office do you wish you had on your smartphone?