Starting September 18, Microsoft will end support for Android Office and Outlook apps on Chrome OS and start pushing Chromebook users to its web apps instead, according to a statement he gave About Chromebooks. No later than July 31, Microsoft Support Documents recommended to install Android versions of Office, Outlook, OneNote, and OneDrive, but now these documents say that apps are not supported for Chrome OS users.
As About ChromebooksHowever, Kevin Tofel points out that the switch to web apps is making it harder for Office users to go offline. While some Office web applications, like Outlook, have a dedicated offline mode, Tofel reports that it is unable to open existing documents using Microsoft’s progressive web app for Chrome OS in offline mode. While Chrome OS offer some offline editing capabilities for native Office files, it does not offer the true Office experience like android apps did while being disconnected from the Internet.
Microsoft was not immediately available to answer questions about the offline features offered by the Office web experience for Chrome OS, or if it would make improvements before the September switchover.
For those who are still online, however, the switch from Android to a web app may not make too much of a difference. For the most part, the web version of Office offers a lot of features that you would need for basic word processing, spreadsheets, and creating presentations, although I’m certainly not the type to judge those who don’t. prefer web applications.
Microsoft’s statement to About Chromebooks doesn’t really explain why the company is making the change, although it does say it will allow Chrome OS users to access “extra and premium features.” (It’s worth noting that Chrome OS users can already use Office web apps if they want.) Tofel reports that this change doesn’t mean Office for Android will be phased out for phone users. We have contacted Microsoft to confirm this and will let you know if we have a response.
There is a certain irony in the fact that Microsoft is pushing Chromebook users not to use Android apps on their laptops because Windows 11 will support running Android apps. That said, the functionality of Android apps on Chrome OS has long been criticized, and even Google has replaced some of its own apps with PWAs on the platform. Most PWAs are only useful if you have a live internet connection, but that isn’t really the case for apps like Office. Hopefully, Chromebook users will have the option to have an offline experience after the change.