This week Microsoft unveiled the new Office 2010 and Sharepoint 2010 product lines for corporate users, and these include the latest versions of Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint. But the really interesting twist is that Microsoft will take on Google Docs head-on with a free Internet version of apps that the Redmond software giant has dubbed Office Web. This free – yes free from Microsoft – version will let users, whether they be corporate customers, students or just average consumers, access their documents from the cloud using a Web browser. This free software will launch June 15, and unlike Google, Microsoft doesn’t seem to be focused on ads to support the cloud software.
For road warriors there will also be a new line of software suites aimed entirely at mobile devices. The apps are now available to Windows Mobile 6.5 devices this week, with a Windows Phone 7 version scheduled for later this year. Nokia handset users will get to download a special application for Office Web 2010 suite, as the two companies agreed to an arrangement where Nokia handsets would integrate the software.
Other mobile handset users won’t be left out either, as the Office Web apps will be available to any phone that features a mobile Web browser. Obviously the experience will be somewhat better with a fully-fledged smartphone, but basic feature phone users can still get in on the Office Web 2010 experience.
What business users can thus expect is that Office Web 2010 for mobile will be best on Nokia devices, good on smartphones and useable on feature phones. And it is unlikely any of the cloud experience will totally replace the desktop versions. From the early reviews online, it seems that Office Web 2010 is good for reading and editing documents, but with the usual limitations. It probably won’t be the most ideal way to create new files, and some parts of the applications will be outright missing – notably it has been stressed online that PowerPoint in the browser can’t support video.
Still, this is a real boon for anyone who likes the idea of being able to access documents from the cloud and whilst on the go.
Microsoft Bing Offers Turn-by-Turn Navigation
Microsoft gave the love to Nokia with Office Web 2010, but the former looks to take on its partner in the navigation space. Microsoft unveiled the latest functionality of Bing for Windows phones this week, and that includes a redesigned home page but more importantly turn-by-turn navigation for driving directions. This is powered by Microsoft’s own Tellme unit, and features voice-guided navigation, where the Bing will calculate the route and find the best ways to avoid traffic and/or tolls. This app is available for select Windows 6.x mobile devices.
Voice Biometric on the Rise as Smartphone Security is Questioned
Last week at the Voice Biometrics Conference it was noted that the technology behind voice biometrics could increase greatly in the next year or two, and that this could help resolve a number of security issues with mobile smartphones.