I think Microsoft is a jealous company. I don’t want the big folks to be annoyed with that claim but their actions seem to point matters in that direction. Over the years, Microsoft practically shunned the Android and iOS platform. Microsoft has a lot to offer on Android and other platforms but I absolutely have no idea why they didn’t take them seriously all these years.
Well, with Satya Nadella taking the wheel in the year 2014 and adopting a mobile-first stance, I think the company has turned its attention to bringing its apps and services to rival platforms. Starting from the major apps like Microsoft Office to side projects developed by Microsoft employees in their spare time under the Microsoft Garage label, the company can really offer a lot of apps that will make all the difference on major mobile platforms like Android, IOS and BlackBerry.
In this post, I will be sharing with you Microsoft Apps Every Android User should install today. So let’s get started.
Microsoft Office came free on Android and IOS in 2014 and this has opened up the floodgates of it being adopted on these platforms. The standalone apps for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint were later launched in 2015, enabling users to quickly edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations on the go.
The standalone apps offer basic editing functionality for all users, but if you want advanced features like inserting section breaks, viewing file history, customizing headers and footers in Word; you are going to have to subscribe to Office 365.
However, if you are just looking to create, edit, or save documents, then the free option should be more than adequate. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint sync over OneDrive, allowing you to quickly view files stored in the cloud.
The apps work even if you don’t have the cloud storage service set up, but you’ll be limited to working with files locally stored on your device. If you’re not a OneDrive user, you can also sync your files through DropBox or Box.
Download Word from the Play Store
Download Excel from the Play Store
Download PowerPoint from the Play Store
Microsoft OneNote is the best note-taking app currently available. It has picked up several new features lately that I am fully confident in saying that. In recent times, one of the biggest updates to OneNote is its cross-platform availability, making it a viable challenger to the likes of EverNote. Wait a minute. Did I just mention EverNote? YES!
EverNote app has gravitated to a paid structure now so it will be silly for anyone not to declare OneNote the winner in this horse race. OneNote for Android is a completely free app that lets you to easily type, draw or hand-draw notes.
The service lets you scan handwritten notes, and has a powerful search feature that lets you find what you’re looking for. You can organize your notes with labels, save web clippings, take voice notes, add photos and videos, and so much more.
OneNote also offers the ability to password protect your notes, version history for your files, Android Wear support, and a widget that lets you quickly jot down a note. The best feature is that you can access your notes even when you’re offline, which isn’t possible unless you’re on a paid plan on EverNote.
OneDrive is that app that you install on your phone and it will be doing you a lot of good without you knowing it. It is a feature-rich cloud storage service that rivals with the big giants like Google Drive, DropBox, Box, and others.
If OneNote is your favourite note-taking app, then you should also install OneDrive because it automatically integrates with OneNote and other Office apps to provide you with a seamless experience on Android.
The app has an automatic photo and video backup, and you can link it to your camera roll to automatically sync photos to your OneDrive account. OneDrive lets you download files for offline use, share photo albums and collaborate on documents, and receive updates when someone makes changes to shared documents.
The free tier comes with 5GB of storage, but if you’re subscribed to Office 365, you’ll get 1TB of cloud storage. If you’re not on Office 365, you can buy 100GB of storage for $1.99 a month or 200GB for $3.99.
Skype is an awesome app anyone that has a loved one in Diaspora should download and install because of its cheap calls. Once you have internet access, you can talk with any member of your family free provided they too are on Skype. This is because calls between Skype users are free.
Plus, the service also offers group video calls for up to 25 people. In 2015, Skype refurbished its User Interface offering a cleaner layout that gives you easy access to calls, chats, and contacts. Skype also retooled chats by rolling out emoticons and Mojis. With Skype, you can also be able to send photos, videos, and share your location from the IM interface.
We love the Gmail app, we are saying that just for the records. However, the Outlook app is one of the best email clients available on Android. Outlook lets you manage email from Gmail, Outlook.com, Microsoft Exchange, Yahoo, and others, providing a unified mailbox.
The app work with the built-in calendar to add details from your emails automatically, and it offers a focused Inbox that lets you prioritize important emails. You can also attach files easily from OneDrive, Dropbox, and Google Drive.
You can archive or delete emails with a swipe left gesture, or peruse your emails at a later time using the schedule function. And just like all Microsoft services on Android, Outlook is free. If you are searching for a better email client, then you should definitely give Outlook a try.
After Microsoft paid over $200 for Acompli, a mobile email service with built-in calendar and file sharing, they rebranded the service to Outlook and added several features to it, including the core functionality of Sunrise Calendar, another of Microsoft’s acquisitions; you will really be missing a lot when you are not using this email service.
Microsoft Groove is one heck of a service I activated on my laptop many years ago and I didn’t like the experience. I simply did not know what it was used for nor why it keeps popping up whenever I boot my computer. But recently, I have come to enjoy the service and the music it brings.
Groove used to be known as Xbox Music and has really evolved since then. One of the biggest benefits of the platform is its everywhereness. Groove is Android supported in addition to iOS and Microsoft’s Windows platforms covering mobile, web, PC and the Xbox console.
I am not always very eager to recommend this service, but after it’s rebranding to Groove, I think Microsoft has put a lot of work into the service. So it’s worth a try. With the Groove Android app, you can discover new songs, albums, and artists right from your Android phone.
You can play ad-free music from one of the biggest music catalogs and add songs, albums, and playlists to your Groove music collection and access them from your phone, Xbox, PC, and the web. You can also listen to radio stations based on your favorite artists and a lot more.
The app really has a vast catalog , backed up by a digital store for you to own the music as well as stream it. The Android app is really nicely done, with recent makeovers injecting some style and sophistication.
Two-step verification helps protect your account by providing an extra layer of security beyond simply your password. It is the next level of security and a big blow to hackers. I think it is being two steps ahead of hackers and crackers. In a situation where your password is compromised and you enabled two-factor authentication, your online accounts are still far from being hacked.
Many service providers have welcomed this idea vastly and it is left for the user to embrace it and take it seriously for the security of their app and data. No matter how strong your password is, it is still vulnerable to brute force attack. A very skilled and determined hacker can still hijack your account even with your strong passwords.
If you regularly sign into a Microsoft account, the company’s own two-factor authenticator comes in handy. Instead of the usual six-digit code to log you in, Microsoft Authenticator lets you authorize the sign in attempt with a simple tap, making the process much more convenient.
In addition to adding your Microsoft account, you can also add details for other services that are secured by two-factor authentication, including Google, Block Chain, Luno, BitGo, Facebook etc. Haven’t secured your accounts yet?
Of all the Microsoft apps in this list, this is the one I like the most. I have used this simple app to scan my documents and surprisingly, it comes out very sharp and smart. Microsoft Office Lens is essentially a portable scanner that lets you easily scan whiteboards, documents, and receipts.
There are other utilities that can help you scan documents (Scanbot) but Office Lens’ integration with Office apps gives it a unique advantage over every other utility in this space. And I did mention that the scanned documents look sharp, clean and smart.
With Office Lens, you can scan and upload your documents to OneNote, Word, or OneDrive. Plus, Office Lens offers enables you to convert your images to Word documents, PDFs, and even PowerPoint files. The app uses optical character recognition to convert images into text, making them searchable. You will really be glad that you installed this app on your phone because it will surely come to your rescue one day. Unless you don’t work with documents at all.
Microsoft Arrow Launcher
Arrow is the personal launcher from Microsoft Garage that offers a radical simplification of the Android experience. There are many android launcher applications on Play Store but Arrow Launcher offers an interesting take. Instead of letting you add apps to the home screen, Arrow Launcher automatically picks out your most-used apps and arranges them based on your usage patterns.
The launcher has a vertical app drawer, a dedicated home screen for widgets, as well as a lot of customization options, including support for custom icon packs and live wallpapers. You can easily access your recent calls, messages, and documents, and the launcher has Wunderlist integration, allowing you to set up reminders quickly. The launcher also has notification badges that show the unread count for your emails and messages.
If you have an Xbox One, the Xbox app offers a lot of utility. The app acts as a virtual controller for the Xbox One, allowing you to control your console with your phone. You can also scroll through your activity feed, view achievements, messages, buy games from the store, and much more.
What’s on your mind?
What Microsoft apps do you use on your Android phone or tablet? Let us know in the comments below the Microsoft apps that work for you.