Microsoft Office On Mobile is Getting Better
Have you ever tried to open a Word or Excel document on your smartphone? How about trying to edit one last minute? This can be a real pain, especially since you have to download a different app for each program; Excel, Word and PowerPoint. This may not be an issue for much longer if Microsoft has success with a new beta program. This would give you access to all of these programs through a single app. There are a few other features in this new app that may prove useful as well.
What Are The New Features
The standard features such as viewing, opening, editing and saving documents from Microsoft Office application will be the major highlight as you can now do them from one universal app. There are also a couple other handy features. One of these is the ability to take a picture of a document and translate it into an editable Word document. You can also do something similar to this with printed versions of tables and edit them in Excel. You will also have the ability to create and sign PDF files as well.
Why Are They Doing This Now?
There is no clear reason why Microsoft has chosen now to finally collaborate their Office collection into one application. One of the biggest speculations is that it is due to competition from Google's G-Suite. The apps for all three of Microsoft's primary office programs (Excel, Word and PowerPoint),are all ranking in the top 25 for productivity apps in the app store. The app for G-Suite is outranking all 3 of these, so Microsoft may see it as an opportunity to gain ground.
Even though there is a higher level of competition in the mobile market, Microsoft still dominates in the business field across all devices. A 2018 report from Bitglass shows that Microsoft Office 365 has around 56% usage for businesses compared to around 25% for Google's G-Suite.
Are The Old Microsoft Apps Going Away?
As of right now, Microsoft has no intentions of removing the individual Office apps from the app stores. They are aware that many users only use on or two of these apps and are familiar and comfortable with them. They will continue updates with these apps indefinitely for now. I would recommend switching soon though, after the beta testing is complete with the new apps. It won't take long until Microsoft decides that maintaining a single app is more cost effective than the single app, as well as three individual ones that do the same thing.
On Android, the public preview of the app is currently available. For iOS, a beta is available through Apple's Test Flight program. The full release is expected to happen sometime in early 2020.