The closed beta for the Office Suite is over and now anyone with an ARM powered Android device running versions 4.x or 5.x can install the non-pared down version Office for Android though you want to make sure your device is between 7" to 10". This is somewhat sad news as it deflates the dreams of those hoping to use NVIDIA's Shield as a desktop replacement and also excludes the new and more powerful Bay Trail tablets. Office on Android is still in beta so this is not a final product and the support for processors may expand as the we approach release, with no firm date for the final release there is reason to expect support could expand to Bay Trail at the least. There is also no price although as The Inquirer points out, the iPad version is free to use.
"MICROSOFT HAS ANNOUNCED the expansion of its beta programme for Android tablet versions of its Office productivity suite."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Micron stacks its 3D NAND high in 2015 @ The Register
- Lenovo: We now OWN IBM's shrinking Euro server biz. It's OURS! @ The Register
- With Forge TV, Razer aims to bring PC gaming to the living room @ The Tech Report
- Syber invades living room with gaming PCs, in-home streaming prototype @ The Tech Report
- Cherry's RealKey tech promises uber-responsive, ghost-free keyboards @ The Tech Report
- Intel's Compute Stick is a $149 Windows PC to go @ The Tech Report
I downloaded and installed
I downloaded and installed word for android on my shield tablet, seems to work fine thus far with android L/5.
I suspect the original source does not/did not understand that the nvidia chip is still arm based.
“This is somewhat sad news as
“This is somewhat sad news as it deflates the dreams of those hoping to use NVIDIA’s Shield as a desktop replacement and also excludes the new and more powerful Bay Trail tablets.”
It all depends, maybe Nvidia could offer its grid infrastructure to host/accelerate the Office application suite if too many problems keep it from working effectively on the shield. I would rather see the K1, and Now X1 based tablet devices getting full Linux version support, if not from Nvidia, from one of the OEMs that use these new Tegra SOCs in their devices. I see no reason that the Android VM, can not run inside/alongside of a full Linux distro on these devices. At lot of open/proprietary office applications support OpenCL acceleration, especially for spreadsheet applications. Will 2015 be the year with any available tablet, coming from any OEM with a factory installed full Linux distro.
“This final point excludes a number of tablets, including Tesco’s Hudl and Hudl 2 which run on Intel Atom Bay Trail processors, and the Nvidia Shield, which The INQUIRER branded one of the best Android tablets to date, but which, of course, runs on a native Nvidia system on a chip.”*
The inquirer author clearly does not Know what “Native” means in reference to the ISA of a particular CPU/SOC, regardless of the underlying circuitry/microcode that implements the ISA. Nvidia uses its own custom circuitry/microcode/whatever to implement the ARMv8A ISA, AMD has been doing this for decades with the x86 16/32 bit ISA, as well as the 64 bit x86 ISA, which AMD created, and Intel cross licenses from AMD. The ISA of a CPU/SOC is merely a template that abstracts the actual hardware implementation in Circuitry/Microcode/whatever below, from the software OS/VM/Applications that run above, according to the instructions/rules of the ISA. The Android VM/runtime is merely a software layer of abstraction, that implements a cross platform ISA, In Software, and its source code(the Android VM/runtime’s) is complied into the native code/ISA of whatever native ISA the hardware is designed to execute, ARM, MIPS, x86, others, and frees the developers/software ecosystem of any single Native ISA’s dependency, the android compilers/libraries target the VM’s virtual ISA which is the same across all devices, transparent to the devices’/SOCs’ Native ISA.
This lack of initial support for office probably has more to do with some extra features/extensions to the Tegra K1/X1 SOCs, and Intel Bay Trail tablets that need more time to be developed for, with regards to the Android VM’s runtime and these newer SOCs, it could be driver related, or simply not enough time for testing/regression testing of the Android VM’s runtime code on the newer SOCs before the initial RTM of office for android. It probably has more to do with the Android VM/runtime code not being ready/certified for the newer SOCs and the office for Android application may run on these devices current implementation of the devices’ android VMs/runtimes, but not error free, at least not certifiably error free to a degree that qualifies them for RTM status, no code base is ever totally error free.
Note: Newer Android versions support limited compilation of the Android VM’s ISA’s bytecode to the native code of SOC, on a first download and install basis, and allows the caching/storing of this “compiled” code to allow for faster subsequent running of the installed application. Android Runtime (ART) is an application runtime environment used by the Android mobile operating system. “ART replaces Dalvik, which is the process virtual machine originally used by Android, and performs transformation of the application’s bytecode into native instructions that are later executed by the device’s runtime environment.”+
*From the Inquirer article.