Office 2016 and Office for Windows touchscreens are due later this year

Microsoft Office logoThe Office tablet and phone apps for iOS and Android both ship with a touch-optimized subset of the features of the full flagship Office suite, and even though Microsoft is readying an Office release for Windows phones and tablets, the desktop version will still reign supreme. Microsoft says that the next version of the flagship suite, dubbed Office 2016, will be "generally available in the second half of 2015." It will remain optimized for keyboards and mice.

The touch-optimized Office apps for Windows 10 are still on their way, though, and Microsoft has shared some screenshots that show what the apps will look like on both phones and tablets. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook Mail, and Outlook Calendar for Windows 10 (the official product names) unsurprisingly share a lot in common with the touchscreen apps for other platforms. Microsoft released Office for iPad in March of 2014, and that UI has served as the foundation for all the tablet versions of the suite, including the still-in-beta Android version. The phone-sized versions of the apps look more like the new iPhone versions released in November, not like the limited versions that are currently available on Windows phones.

Office 2016 and Office for Windows touchscreens are due later this year

The Outlook app for Windows 10 is something we haven't seen on other platforms yet. Microsoft has released Outlook clients for iOS and Android, but they only support business-class Office 365 accounts and are more or less just wrappers for the standard Outlook Web client. The version for Windows 10 looks more full-featured, more closely resembling the desktop version of Outlook, at least in the three-column tablet view.

Pricing information hasn't been revealed for either Office version, but we'd expect Office 2016 pricing to be in line with what Office 2013 costs now (Office 365 subscribers can most likely expect it to be available at no extra charge when it's released). If the iOS and Android versions of the touchscreen Office apps are any indication, the Office for Windows 10 apps will most likely be free-to-use with some features locked behind an Office 365 paywall. Upgraded Mac versions of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint to accompany the new versions of OneNote and Outlook for OS X can't be far behind, but Microsoft still hasn't shared specific information on any of them.

We'll continue to report on all these new Office versions as they draw nearer to release.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Microsoft, Microsoft Office

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