Windows Phone doesn’t support built-in protocols for controlling presentations over Bluetooth, but the new Office Remote app may make that deficiency a thing of the past. Starting today, users can control their Office Apps with just their Windows Phone device.
Microsoft announced the new application today. To be clear, Office Remote isn’t just a simple remote presentation app. Instead users of Office 2013 can add a small desktop download to their PCs and enhance their entire presentation experience thanks to on-device previews of upcoming slides and voice cues. Office Remote even lets presentation givers monitor their speaking time and use and their Windows Phone as a sort-of digital laser pointer so that they can emphasize particular sets of information to their audience.
Office Remote doesn’t just benefit heavy PowerPoint users either. Excel users can fire up Office Remote and browse spreadsheets and pivot tables wirelessly. Users can zoom in on certain areas in both Excel and Word documents with Office Remote as well.
Windows Phone users can download Office Remote from the Windows Store for free. While every device running Windows Phone 8 can use the application, Windows Phone 7 users cannot. Microsoft’s press release was also very specific about what applications are compatible with Office Remote. Only Word, Excel and PowerPoint feature Office Remote connectivity right now, and users will need the latest versions of these applications for Office Remote to work. That rules out any Windows Phone user who isn’t using a version of Office 2013 on their PC.
Although Office Remote seems like a relatively small project with a very narrow use case, it is integration scenarios like these that could help Microsoft do better with consumers. After all, it’s much easier to convince a user that they need all of Microsoft’s products when those products actually work together in meaningful ways.
To their credit, product integration is commonly noted as one of the key’s to Apple’s success with consumers. Its iOS operating-system, iTunes Store, Mac OS operating system and hardware all interact with each other in useful ways. Microsoft didn’t announce any plans to release versions of Office Remote for iPhone and Android users.