Microsoft has expanded the preview programme for Office for Android Tablet in a bid to garner more feedback from a wider audience of testers, enabling anyone to download the apps directly from the Google Play store.
The firm announced in November that it was developing mobile versions of the Office applications to run on Android-based tablets, following the release of a similar set of apps for Apple's iPad last year.
However, until now, access to the preview applications has been restricted. Testers wanting to try Office for Android Tablet had to sign up and wait for Microsoft to grant them the rights to download and install the apps.
Microsoft said in a posting on the Office Blog that the company wanted to get feedback from a broader set of users to ensure that the Office apps work well on a range of Android tablets before officially launching the apps.
"Starting today, anyone can go to Google Play and download the Word, Excel and PowerPoint preview apps. No waitlist. No requesting access. Just go and download the apps!" the post stated.
Testers wanting to participate in the preview need to use an Android tablet with an ARM-based processor.
Access at the start of the preview process was restricted to tablets with a screen size of 7in to 10.1in, but Microsoft announced in December that it had lifted that restriction and that the apps could be run on devices with larger screens.
Microsoft has also extended access to users with tablets running Android 5.0 Lollipop. Only devices with Android 4.4 KitKat were supported initially.
An official release date for Office for Android Tablet has yet to be announced, but Microsoft stated previously that the apps would be available early in 2015.
Microsoft is expected to make the Office for Android Tablet apps available as a free download once released, but certain functions and capabilities will be tied to an Office 365 subscription, as is the case with the Office for iPad apps.
Microsoft faces competition from other developers. Late last year, SoftMaker released its SoftMaker Office HD suite which runs on Android tablets, but also offers similar capabilities to a full-blown desktop suite.
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