Microsoft has officially released its Office for Android apps, enabling users of Android tablets to download and use native versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Available from today in the Google Play store, the Office for Android apps are similar to the "universal" apps that Microsoft is preparing for Windows 10 devices, and also have similar functionality to the existing Office apps for Apple's iPad that were released last year.

As with the preview version of Office for Android, the released apps require an ARM-based tablet with at least 1GB memory running Android 4.4 KitKat. The version also runs on tablets with a screen size of 7in and above, but a device with a screen size greater than 10.1 inches will require an Office 365 subscription to create and edit, Microsoft said. Support for Intel-based Android tablets is expected to be available in the spring.

According to Microsoft, the apps are free for personal use for "core editing", while "premium features" require users to sign in with a qualifying Office 365 subscription. Commercial use calls for a qualifying Office 365 subscription for both editing and premium features.

"If you're a consumer, just download the free apps from the Google Play store and then log in with your Microsoft Account to create files, print and perform day-to-day editing for free. To access premium features, sign up for an Office 365 subscription. If you are a business or organisational user, the Android tablet is now another device on which you can use Office, logging in with your Office 365 business credentials," explained Julia White, general manager for the Office Product Management Team, writing on Microsoft's official blog.

At the same time, Microsoft announced a new Outlook for iOS email app and a preview version of an Outlook for Android app. Both versions work with Office 365, Exchange,, Yahoo Mail, Gmail and other major email services.