There’s a new keyboard sheriff in productivity town. Microsoft has launched a new keyboard app for Android tablets, which includes a numpad for crunching figures on the go. The thankful cries of mobile Excel users have proved yet again that Microsoft is committed to improving productivity everywhere.
Over the past year, freshly anointed CEO Satya Nadella has been making good on his promise to make Microsoft a “mobile first, cloud first” company, churning out new mobile versions of Office, opening itself to virtually all of the major cloud storage services, shelling out $200 million for the email app Acompli, and then rebranding it into the powerhouse Outlook for iPhone and Android. With this latest move, Nadella is betting that he can even make Excel sexy. (Or, as sexy as Excel can be.)
The numpad-equipped keyboard is only for Android thus far–not even for Microsoft’s touted Surface 3 tablets. But the move is likely to be more shrewd business strategy than a mere gift to Android users: Microsoft recently pumped millions of dollars in funding into mobile developer Cyanogen to help it wrest the Android platform away from Google.