This week, Microsoft announced only an approximate release date of Office 2016, the new desktop version of Office for Windows. However, the long-awaited app suite for mobile devices, dubbed Office for Windows 10, is scheduled to go out as a preview in February, around the same time the company launches Windows 10 for smartphones.
The most anticipated feature of the Office suite for mobile devices is the touch-enabled apps. The enhanced versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote would include touch-friendly functionalities. Additionally, Outlook would also support calendar functionality just like the desktop version does.
Microsoft reported that Office for Windows 10 would be pre-installed for free on smartphones and tablets powered by Windows 10 mobile, while the apps for other devices would be soon available for sale on Windows Store.
Julie White, head of the Microsoft department for the Office suite product management, wrote Thursday in a blog post that Office 2016 would be released sometime within “the second half of 2015.” But Ms White gave little information on the new features of the suite.
Office 2016 is the successor of Office 2013 and a promising new version of an office suite of desktop applications. Tech experts expect that a public preview of the product would almost certainly be available within the next few months, while the suite would be put on sale on the same time Windows 10 for PC gets released.
Windows 10’s release date, however, wasn’t disclosed. According to an early statement, it should roll out “in early fall”, while according to a more recent statement it would be ready for sale “later this year”.
Ms White didn’t provide any details about retail price or packaging, but that info usually comes out near the ship date. Microsoft also announced that Windows 10 is available in two versions – the buy-once-and-use-it-for-a-lifetime model, as well as the rent-not-own model as Office 365 had got us accustomed with.
Office 365 subscribers would get a free upgrade of Office 2013 to its latest version when the product gets released, Microsoft said.
In 2014, Microsoft has also announced a new version of Office for Mac that would be ready for sale in the second half of this year. The name of the suite wasn’t disclosed, but Microsoft has already released a preview of Outlook for OS X to Office 365 subscribers with an update earlier this week.
It is very likely that Office 2016 and the Mac version will both be put up for sale at the same time. But by doing so, Microsoft would break with tradition since it used to release the Mac edition several months after the Windows version.
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