Microsoft to roll out Office Universal Apps for Windows 10 for phones

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Microsoft on Friday announced it will be releasing previews of its universal Office apps — Word, Excel, and PowerPoint – for Windows phones by April end.

Microsoft is referring these mobile apps as ‘universal apps’ because they work the same on both smartphones and tablets. The Redmond has already released similar touch-friendly Office apps for Apple Inc’s iPad and iPhone, and for tablets running Google Inc’s Android.

When released, the new Office Universal Applications will replace the currently existing Office Mobile app suite that provides for new content creation and editing capabilities over the Windows Phone platform.

The software maker revealed that the Office apps will not come built directly into Windows 10, but will be preinstalled on new Windows phones after the operating system goes live. This will enable the Redmond to update the software without having to overhaul the entire Windows 10 system.

“With the preview release of the new universal apps for Windows 10 for phones, we’ll have an exciting lineup of Windows 10 apps across form factors,” noted Jared Spataro, general manager for the Office marketing team, on the Microsoft Office blog.

“The universal apps will deliver tailored tablet and phone experiences for on-the-go productivity, and the desktop apps will offer our broadest, deepest feature set for professional content creation.”

Spataro said that the new universal apps will work on a “freemium” model, offering basic capabilities for free. However users will be encouraged to move to an Office 365 subscription to unlock more advanced capabilities.

Windows 10 is expected to get officially launched by this summer.