Microsoft is in the midst of its annual Build conference. This is sort of like Google I/O or WWDC, but with fewer online viewers. Wednesday's keynote presentation was filled with announcements about Windows 10, the Microsoft Edge browser, an augmented reality headset, and quite a bit more. One product failed to earn stage time: the Visual Studio Emulator for Android, but developers may find renewed interest since the latest version is showing maturity as it expands through the addition of Device Profiles and a number of other recent enhancements.
During this year's Microsoft I/O, excuse me, Microsoft Build Developer Conference, the Windows maker announced all sorts of new Office-related stuff across all kinds of platforms, Android included. Okay, there isn't much information on the Android front, but Microsoft did announce that it intends to bring add-in support to the Play Store's version of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint sometime later this year.
Unfortunately, the Android version won't come until Microsoft first gets everything working on the iPad.
It might surprise you to learn that the Android Police staff does not work on a series of networked Chromebook Pixels connected to Google's sentient God-Cloud. Nope, most of us use Windows for daily posting and other general tech stuff. So it's awfully interesting that Microsoft is making a push to bring Android apps to its various Windows platforms starting with the upcoming Windows 10. At today's Build 2015 developer keynote, Microsoft said that devs will be able to "reuse nearly all the Java and C++ code from an Android phone app to create apps for phones running Windows 10.”
Microsoft Outlook came to Android in January, and after no shortage of updates, the company now feels that the time has come to remove the app's preview label. It has become a full-fledged piece of software, mature and feature-rich enough to take on the world like countless freshly-out-of-beta apps before it. Outlook for Android, according to Microsoft, is ready to compete with its iOS counterpart.
It doesn't get as much attention as the competition, but SkyDrive OneDrive is a capable alternative to Drive or Dropbox. The Android app has been lagging behind on features a little, but today's update improves things. The new features help you stay in the app more instead of jumping to the browser to get links or manage content.
While Microsoft's wide release of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint for tablet users was more than welcome, there were more than a few strings attached. Most notably, it was incompatible with Android 5.0+, making the newest devices unable to use them. The other major hangup was the lack of support for x86 processors, which basically means all Intel SoCs, a popular choice in the midrange tablet market. Microsoft is now working on a semi-private beta that adds support for both of those groups.
Microsoft announced Skype Room Systems last month, and now it has released a companion app for Android. This software is aimed at business-running types looking to use Skype to create virtual meeting spaces.
The system is built around Windows 10, but the Android app does let you control and monitor some functions. These include seeing when you're waiting in the lobby, tweaking your volume settings, turning off your camera, and hanging up on a call.
We've heard Cyanogen Inc. CEO Kirt McMaster express his desire to break away from Google on more than one occasion, and it looks like Microsoft will be helping him do just that. Cyanogen OS will soon come bundled with a suite of Microsoft apps and services including Bing search, Skype, OneDrive, OneNote, Outlook, and Office.
Wouldn't it be nice if every international tech company was as accommodating to competing platforms as Microsoft? The company's Android support for the last year or so has been nothing short of amazing - it must make all twenty Windows Phone users really pissed off at Google for its lack of reciprocation. The latest Microsoft app to make the jump to Android is Delve, a collaboration tool for Office 365 users.