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Microsoft Office apps to now come preloaded on ASUS devices

ASUS MS Office

#ASUS devices will soon start seeing Microsoft’s #Office apps pre-installed, thanks to a licensing deal struck between the two companies. #Microsoft said that this “opens the door to the kind of collaboration between Microsoft and ASUS made possible only through mutual respect and alignment on intellectual property.”

A large number of Android manufacturers have signed this pact with Microsoft to include Office apps on their devices.  The list includes the likes of LG, Samsung, Sony and nearly 20 others. This won’t hinder the experience of the users in any way, so there’s no need for concern if you’re planning to get an ASUS product soon.

Office apps can be used in lieu of the standard productivity apps and since it’s coming from Microsoft, users can be assured of getting the best software experience. It’s not clear if the apps will be included in future ASUS devices or if there will an update to bring all these apps to older devices as well. Either way, users should prepare to start seeing Microsoft’s Office apps on their ASUS devices very soon.

Source: Microsoft

Via: Engadget

Best business-friendly Android tablets money can buy in December 2014

Once upon a time deemed harmless toys incapable of challenging the conventional laptop’s productivity, tablets have grown in mainstream popularity of late not only because they’re smaller and, often, easier to master than computers.

tablets-and-business

They’re also slowly but steadily moving up the enterprise ranks, becoming safe, functional and, most of all, cheap enough to use in business environments. Besides, tablets allow professionals and entrepreneurs to take their work with them wherever, whenever, with increased comfort.

Juggling between one’s relaxation and entertainment needs, and office endeavors is a walk in the park, and a slew of optional accessories and add-ons like keyboard docks or stylus pens often bring tabs perfectly on-par with larger PCs as far as productivity goes. Sometimes, higher.

Business tablets

Granted, many tablets, especially in the Android ecosystem, remain focused on light tasks, gaming, or multimedia playing. Which is why you may need a little guidance into picking the pads that mean business the most. Here are seven top options available today, each one fitting a different enterprise profile:

Google/HTC Nexus 9 – starting at $400 on Amazon

At first glance, there’s nothing businessy about the latest entry in the “pure Google” Nexus franchise. Quite on the contrary, if we’re talking strictly from a software standpoint, as Big G is never keen on adding software optimizations or security “enhancements” in the mix.

What makes the N9 a sensible choice for corporations and corporation workers is the dedicated keyboard folio, up for grabs on Amazon at $88. Sure, most tabs support third-party docking stations and keyboard cases. Many of which might be larger and thus more productive than Nexus 9’s accessory.

Nexus 9

But this one is specifically made for Google’s 8.9 incher, and you’re guaranteed perfect compatibility and a smooth user experience close to the one offered by a traditional laptop. All for less than $500, in a package weighing under 800 grams in total. Nice!

Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 – $549 in 32 GB configuration

It’s perhaps needless to point out why a stylus could come in handy for a graphic artist, or just a scribbler always attending meetings and always in need of easy note-taking tools. Well, the Note Pro 12.2 is one of the easiest and best all-around, along with its beautiful, greatly prolific S Pen.

Galaxy Note Pro with keyboard

A fantastic multi-tasker and a bona fide powerhouse, the Note Pro 12.2 offers all the screen real estate you’ll need to create and tweak spreadsheets in comfort, and of course, an Office Suite built with your enterprise requirements in mind.

Plus, Knox security, a wireless printing-dedicated app and a bundled keyboard if you’re willing to cough up $720 and up. Not exactly a bargain, but it could be money well spent.

Asus Transformer Pad TF103C – $299 (keyboard included)

Looking for a bargain tablet/laptop hybrid, and don’t mind cutting a few performance and productivity corners? This aging Transformer Pad is a smart buy no matter how you look at it, even if it’s smaller than the Note Pro and doesn’t come with a stylus in tow.

Asus Transformer Pad

Not quite a speed champion, the TF103C can last for a full day’s work on a single charge, and the bundled keyboard is particularly impressive, touting a decently sized trackpad and as such replicating to the letter a notebook’s typing experience.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition – $449 and up on Amazon

Something for everybody. That’s our motto today, and the 10.1-inch Note aims to meet the desires of those who see the Note Pro as too uncomfortable to lug around, and the Transformer Pad as underwhelming in the performance department.

Galaxy Note 10.1 2014

Not too pricey, and not too cheap, if you know what we mean, this baby comes with Polaris Office pre-installed, S Pen support on hand, the same exquisite multitasking abilities as the 12.2 incher and an optional case/stand. No keyboard love? Afraid not, although there are numerous external choices.

This $26 Newstyle, for instance. Or this “premium” $47 ProCase. This $37 Supernight? Your call.

EVGA Tegra Note 7 – up for grabs at $159

If your employer is not the generous kind, and you’re simply looking for an inexpensive, light, sleek travel companion instead of a top-of-the-line laptop replacement, the Tegra Note 7 is perhaps the safest bet.

EVGA Tegra Note

It ain’t extremely productive, obviously, but it’s decent for note-taking, courtesy of the intuitive Nvidia Direct Stylus experience, and will let you answer a few urgent e-mails on the move. Oh, and don’t tell your boss man, but the Tegra Note 7 is a bitching gaming device. Almost like an oversized Shield console.

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet – $530 on Amazon

Pencil pushers (no offense) make up merely a tiny portion of the target audience addressed by business tablets. A solid business tab should handle itself in the wild outdoor too, and in need, fight off water dips and dust contact.

Enter the waterproof, dirtproof Xperia Z2 Tablet. Perhaps not the ideal gadget to visit a construction site without a helmet on, the 10.1 incher is incredibly easy to carry, tipping the scales at 439 grams and measuring 6.4 mm thick.

Xperia Z2 Tablet

Now, elegance may not be the prime concern of enterprise slate users, but if you’re to be available for your business partners and execs at all times, at least do it in style. Speaking of all-times availability, the 10.1-inch Z2 can be had with just Wi-Fi connectivity, or Verizon LTE speeds. The latter, high-speed connected around the clock, costs $500 with two-year contracts, and $600 outright.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Active – $563 on Amazon

Meet the Terminator of business-friendly tablets. This thing can take a beating without flinching, and needs no helmet in its construction travels. The Tab Active is the protection helmet, its rugged exterior ensuring security against four-foot drops.

Also, against accidental water immersions up to 30 minutes, and interaction with dust. Basically a Tab 4 8.0 squeezed into a protective case, the Tab Active is “enterprise-ready, productivity-ready and solutions-ready.”

Galaxy-Tab-Active

How so? With Knox security, NFC, C-Pen support, a bundle of special apps to crank up productivity, various data encryption methods and, last but not least, a daylight-readable LCD screen.

Do we have an enterprise champion? Maybe, although we’d like to stress again each business user is different, and has a very particular set of skills in need of polishing and support. All considered, is anyone thinking of purchasing one of the above? Which one and why? Sound off in the comments section below.

MS Office for Android could break cover in early November

Office Mobile

Office Mobile

Microsoft made the Office Mobile for Android free back in March. However, this wasn’t the full version of the app as it lacked some of the features that we see on the desktop clients. A new report now suggests that Microsoft could finally bring the full version of the app to the Google Play Store in early November. This version will be completely touchscreen friendly and will let you create, edit and modify documents, spreadsheets on the go.

Although Google already offers productivity applications such as Docs, Sheets, Slides etc, they’re heavily reliant on the cloud. So to have something like MS Office which can function independently is surely a great convenience. The full version of the Office app is already available on the Apple iPads, so it’s high time Microsoft brought these nifty apps to the most popular mobile platform in the world.

Bear in mind that editing and creating documents will require a subscription to Office 365, so getting the full version of Microsoft Office could turn out to be a pretty expensive affair. Are you excited about the arrival of the new Microsoft Office on your Android device?

Via: ZDNet

Google Apps for Business Gets Major Backer in HP

hpchromebookGoogle and Hewlett-Packard have just announced that they will be teaming up to offer Google Apps for Business. The initiative is targeted at small and medium businesses. Google Apps is a suite of cloud-based office applications for creating documents and spreadsheets integrated into Google’s cloud-based file storage service.

Initially, cloud-based office suites were met with skepticism, but features like easy collaboration have slowly changed people’s minds. Recently, Microsoft launched its own cloud-based variant called Office 365, and Apple’s iWorks for iCloud is in beta.

With this move, HP will broaden its revenue stream. Google probably benefits more from the deal by gaining HP’s considerable relationships in the channel. HP has a rather significant network of third-party resellers that offer customized packages of products to businesses.

The move is not really surprising. In February 2013, HP started offering a low-cost 14-inch Chromebook. Chromebooks run on Google’s Chrome Operating System which are primarily designed to give Google Apps users a low-cost platform to run the service on. Also, HP unveiled the Android-powered Slate 7 and Slatebook x2 last month.

While HP executives characterize the new relationship as part of its broad business approach, this move towards Google was probably precipitated by Microsoft itself. Microsoft’s close relationship with smartphone maker, Nokia, and offer to help finance the Dell buyout, have probably caused some concern in HP’s ranks. Microsoft’s financing of the Dell buyout involves a new Windows licensing deal between Dell and Microsoft. On top of all that, Microsoft has started building hardware that competes directly with HP products, namely, the Microsoft Surface series of tablets.

Source: AllThingsD through BGR

Microsoft wants Apple To Go Easy on Its 30% Revenue Sharing Policy With Upcoming Office for iOS App

office-logo

Microsoft and Apple aren’t the best of friends right now with the SkyDrive app being stuck in limbo as Microsoft isn’t too keen on sharing revenue with Apple. And it seems like the problem isn’t just limited to SkyDrive, but to upcoming Microsoft apps as well. According to reports coming from people familiar with the matter, the real issue at hand was with regards to the upcoming Microsoft Office app for iOS. As we know, the Office app on iOS will only allow users to read documents and in order to edit documents they would require a paid Office 365 subscription. Apple basically wants a 30% cut of these revenues. And Microsoft clearly isn’t too fond of the idea, which means the two companies are at an impasse.

It must be noted that Apple has the same policy for all, irrespective of the developer, so it might seem a bit strange that Microsoft has trouble agreeing with Apple while most developers have been following these rules for a long time. App revenues make up for most of Apple’s incomes, and there’s no doubt that Apple wouldn’t want to back out of its policies just to cater to Microsoft’s requirements. The result is that both the companies make very good arguments, but there’s very little coming out of this.

Here’s Apple’s stand on the revenue sharing issue as mentioned by a spokesperson for the company – “Apple provides customers and developers the largest selection and safest way to discover apps with our curated App Store. We’ve designed our rules to be fair and consistent for every developer — free apps and services are distributed for free, paid apps and services provide a revenue share to Apple. We’ve paid out over 6.5 billion dollars to our developer community who have created over 700,000 apps”.

So what will be the solution to this? It seems like Microsoft will have to back out and agree to Apple’s terms, as Apple is in no mood to compromise on its revenue sharing policy. Considering the kind of hype already surrounding the Office for iOS app, it will be interesting to see if a resolution can be seen soon. Perhaps Microsoft wants Apple to show special treatment as it is bringing the widely popular Office app to the platform, which will certainly have plenty of takers. Microsoft is yet to come out in public about the issue, but we expect that to happen soon. As this unfolds, Microsoft’s updated version of SkyDrive for iOS is still awaiting a green signal from Apple. There’s no word yet on when Microsoft will announce the Office application for Android devices. There’s not much of an issue when it comes to revenue sharing on Android.

Source: All Things D
Via: Phone Arena