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Another step towards turning Android Tablets into productivity tools

by Eric Smith | Mar 30, 2015

Following the news from MWC earlier this month that Samsung Galaxy S6 smartphones would come preloaded with Office apps, Microsoft announced last week that a dozen hardware vendors would do the same for their Android Tablets starting in the first half of 2015. Samsung (for select models), Dell, Pegatron, and the following eight regional vendors are all part of Microsoft’s continued push into mobile:

  • TrekStor of Germany
  • JP Sa Couto of Portugal
  • Datamatic of Italy
  • DEXP of Russia
  • Hipstreet of Canada
  • QMobile of Pakistan
  • Tecno of Africa
  • Casper of Turkey

In addition to these vendors on the consumer side, Samsung B2B channel customers will have a choice of Office 365 packages along with Samsung’s Knox security service. We would expect more of these partnerships in the enterprise space to boost the credibility of Tablets as productivity machines and to promote Microsoft as a key part of the growing enterprise Tablet segment.

 

This bodes well for Microsoft in a few ways. First, it makes Office (thus Microsoft) relevant for mobile-first users who either rely on Google apps like Docs, Sheets, and Slides or don’t use productivity apps at all on Tablets. Second, it pushes Tablets closer to being seen as something beyond casual, entertainment devices. As software developers make it easier and more efficient to create content on Tablets, the more consumers will begin to use them for productivity needs. Office is one of Microsoft’s key strengths, but until recently it has largely been a PC-centric property. Office has been free on Android and iOS since November 2014, but pre-loading Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive, and Skype on Android Tablets removes the burden of app discovery from the consumer and reinforces that strength of Office into the mobile world.

This move is in addition to recent promotions for OneDrive by offering free extra storage for registering with Bing Rewards or for Dropbox customers earlier in the year. Microsoft’s mobile-first and cloud-first strategy eschews old ideas of license fees and pricey software suites and instead makes room for the freemium model in Office apps and OneDrive cloud storage as well as the Windows-as-a-service concept of Windows 10. While we expect that Windows Tablets will gain a modest bump in market share in the years following the Windows 10 release, Microsoft’s moves in mobile software on Android and iOS (Office became free downloads for both OSes in the last year) could be just as monumental.

- Eric

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