Microsoft’s cross-platform Office push includes revamped Outlook

If you’re a fan of Microsoft services and you have an iOS or Android device, today’s your lucky day. The company has taken the wraps off a bunch of updates and, in some cases, new releases.

First up, Android tablets. Late last year Microsoft released preview versions of its Office apps – Word, Excel and PowerPoint – for Google’s larger-screened mobile devices, and now it’s removed the “preview” label. All these productivity apps are now available for free download in their fully-fledged forms, as is OneNote for Android.

For those with Android tablets running on Intel processors, Microsoft said in a Thursday blog post that a native implementation of its apps would be out for those “within a quarter.”

Microsoft has also released a new Outlook app for iOS and a preview version of Outlook for Android. There’s already a more basic Outlook.com app for Android, but this new version also incorporates calendaring, contacts and OneDrive file-handling functionality, as well as new “customizable swipes and actions.”

The new Outlook app actually represents an impressively swift wrangling of Accompli, the email/calendar app that Microsoft bought late last year. As Outlook GM and former Accompli CEO Javier Soltero wrote in a separate post, the intention now is to “continue rapidly delivering new features and functionality” in the app.

Workflow in new iOS Outlook app

Workflow in new iOS Outlook app

Clippy’s dead, but KeyRocket resurrects the good bits

What use are hundreds of shortcuts if you don’t know them? Berlin’s Veodin has come up with a free tool called KeyRocket, which trains users in the way of the shortcut with more relevance and less irritation than Microsoft’s hated old Office assistant.

Office for Mac 2011 Now Available

Office 2011 for Mac, the latest version in Microsoft’s workhorse suite, is now available at your favorite retailer or Microsoft’s web site. In this version, Visual Basic macros are back, but Entourage is out, having been replaced by a new, all-Cocoa version of Outlook.

Academic Appeal: Comparing Pages and Word 2008

pages_vs_word

This time of year, it seems almost inevitable. There’s a forum post somewhere, a plea for help in the middle of the night, asking a time-honored question. No, it’s not “the answer to Life, the Universe, Everything!” It’s more profound than that: “I’m starting school this fall and I want to know what to get, iWork or Office. I’m going to be writing light papers.”

So, I’m going to compare the two programs when writing a research paper to MLA standards. While there are a plethora of other options — I can see the “use LaTeX” comments in my head now — I’m focusing on Word and Pages. Word and Pages both support EndNote X2 and Math Type 6, but since I’ve never used Math Type, I’m not going to be able to comment on it. Read More about Academic Appeal: Comparing Pages and Word 2008

Open and Save Word Documents With TextEdit

TextEdit

Microsoft (s msft) Word was one of my favorite and most-used applications back in the early days. I started Mac (s aapl) word processing first with Word 4 and upgraded to Word 5.1 in 1993. Amazingly, that old application still starts up and works fine in Classic Mode on my G4 PowerBook.

However, the disastrous Word 6 broke my Word habit, and Word 5.1 was the last Microsoft software I ever bought. I’ve turned to other software ever since for text crunching and word processing, and don’t really miss Word except when someone sends me a Word document, or when I need to send a file to someone who works in Word. Read More about Open and Save Word Documents With TextEdit

iPhone Doc Editing: Documents to Go vs. QuickOffice Pro

docsvsquick

A little while ago, QuickOffice ($19.99, iTunes link) brought Word document editing to the iPhone. This week, however, QuickOffice officially loses its corner on that market with the introduction of Documents to Go ($4.99, iTunes link) by Dataviz, a seasoned contender.

The iPhone (s aapl) may not be my device of choice when it comes to doing significant edits to text documents, but in times of duress, it might be the quickest, most convenient, or even the only option available, so I like to have the capability. Let’s see which of these two apps will earn a place of honor on my springboard. Read More about iPhone Doc Editing: Documents to Go vs. QuickOffice Pro

Weekly App Store Picks: May 23, 2009

zunehd-vs-iphone

What’s that, you say? You’re looking for iPhone app recommendations alongside a smattering of the week’s Apple (s aapl) news? Read, on my friend, I have just the article for you…

Before I present you with my four recommendations, hand-picked from the freshest apps to launch for the iPhone, it’s time to take stock and review this week’s Apple news.

As if Monday couldn’t get any grimmer, the big news to start the week was all about Microsoft (s msft). Specs and other info about its new Zune, apparently code-named “xYz,” have been doing the rounds. Perhaps presenting a genuine challenge to the iPhone and iPod touch handheld gaming throne, the device may even play XBox Live Arcade content. Very exciting indeed, considering the breadth and quality of games on offer via Microsoft’s online service.

Speaking of which, the big surprise of the week was news that Braid, the top-rated, critically acclaimed Xbox Live Arcade title, has been released on Mac. The game is a side-scrolling platformer, incorporating a host of headache-inducing time-twisting puzzles. Good fun indeed, and a worthy workout for cerebral gamers on the hunt for a challenge.

Coming to the U.S. in the very near future is Spotify, the legal music service that’s essentially like having access to the entire iTunes Store for free. The service has already been on offer in Europe since late 2008. Spotify’s founder, Daniel Ek, believes it’ll be officially available stateside by the start of 2010 at the latest.

While the Spotify iPhone app is still under wraps, Digg.com founder Kevin Rose has been impressed by the desktop version, “… playing w/Spotify, hot damn it’s responsive – plays pretty much any song on earth in <1 second.” Being stationed in Helsinki, Finland, I’ve had the pleasure of using Spotify for several months now — it really is as fast as Rose describes.

My favorite news of the week concerns the latest update to the iPhone. More rumors abound, as a fresh list of specs has been released. Notable possible enhancements to the iPhone include 32GB of storage in the high-end model, built-in FM transmitter, OLED screen, rubber tread backing and discontinuation of the metal band surrounding the edge of the device.

Moving on to the picks, this week I’ve been looking at Mover, Burger King Now, Lexulous and Flashback.

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