Out and about: New SharePoint mobile offerings

 Mark Kashman(@mkashman) is a SharePoint Senior Product Manager on the SharePoint team.

Work is no longer 9-5, nor confined to a single location. People are out and about more than ever and need to be able to access their documents and data whenever and wherever they are. 

I’m excited to share an update on the progress we’ve made–from the new native apps and how SharePoint document access appears in the native Windows Phone Office Hub to investments in cross-device access across multiple browsers and a new backend feature called Device Channels.

Two new apps available across multiple devices

We’re introducing two new apps across multiple devices: the SharePoint Newsfeed app and the SkyDrive Pro app.

The SharePoint Newsfeed app. The SharePoint Newsfeed app–available now for Windows Phone and iOS mobile devices–is the best way to stay connected and be productive while on the go. You can use the SharePoint Newsfeed app to interact with your organization’s SharePoint social network, letting you:

  • Create new status posts, use #hashtags, @mention direct to a colleague
  • Add comments to ongoing discussions, read and “like” your colleagues’ posts
  • Upload pictures
  • And more…

You can try the new app now, installed directly on your device. The apps will work against a Microsoft Office 365 SharePoint Online account or a properly configured on-premises SharePoint Server.

The new SharePoint Newsfeed app on a Windows Phone.

The new SharePoint Newsfeed app for iOS – left image shows app displayed on an iPad, right image shows app displayed on an iPhone.

The SkyDrive Pro app. As you may know, SkyDrive Pro is cloud storage that organizations provision for employees as part of their SharePoint 2013 on-premises and/or Office 365 SharePoint Online deployments. 

This personal file storage service is for business use, and users can store, access and synchronize their files using the SkyDrive Pro client software.  Users are not limited to synchronizing their personal docs–they can sync any document library to which they have permission (for document libraries where sync is turned on).

There is also a SkyDrive Pro client for Windows – to sync your important documents to your local machine – that ships with Office 2013; also available as a free, standalone installable component. In addition, the capabilities already come natively in Windows Phone (more on that below in the Office Hub section of this post).

The native SkyDrive Pro apps for Windows 8 and iOS are both now available; you can learn more here at this related blog post. You can use the SkyDrive Pro app for Windows 8 and iOS to:

  • View documents in your SkyDrive Pro folder
  • Select specific content to take offline when you travel
  • Upload new content
  • Create new folders and organize

SkyDrive Pro access is also a capability of the new Office Mobile for iPhone and Office Mobile for Android phones. You can use these apps to create new documents and edit existing ones from your iPhone or Android phone directly into your SkyDrive Pro folder. You, too, will see the consistent “Recent” view of your documents as you move from device to device. Try them today.

Learn more about SkyDrive Pro.

SkyDrive Pro for Windows 8 modern app–early design concept screenshots, not final renditions.

Windows Phone Office Hub

Here on the SharePoint team, we’ve been collaborating with the Windows Phone team for some time now. As a result, Windows Phone 8 comes with an updated Office Hub, in which SharePoint provides the embedded SkyDrive Pro technology so you can have access to your documents wherever you are.

You can use the Windows Phone Office Hub to:

  • Find documents, open them and make last-minute changes
  • Quickly find and open documents you’ve recently used
  • Start new documents 

Windows Phone 8 Office Hub. Note:  In the graphic above under ‘places’, ‘Mark Kashman’ represents a SharePoint Online hosted SkyDrive Pro folder.

Cross-device access across multiple browsers

At its core, SharePoint is all about dynamic sites and the various business solutions you can easily configure through out-of-the-box templates. The new SharePoint user interface is a refreshing, clean experience with easy drag and drop, quicker page loads and a focus on true accessibility using WCAG guidelines to make SharePoint perceivable, operable, understandable and robust.

Touch was a key area of investment across all of the products in the new Office, and SharePoint is no exception. For SharePoint, we focused on building large touch targets as you filter and navigate and even work with documents. The Office Web Apps team also focused on making the browser-based Office experience accessible across devices, big and small.

SharePoint is now more touch friendly across all types of devices 

Specific to the small screens found in today’s smartphones, we built native mobile viewing experiences–turning your pages into HTML5 app-like solutions. In Mobile View mode, the design elements are stripped away so that the essence of distinct tasks are front and center–like working with a document, viewing the full timeline of a project and adding a new item to a list.  

SharePoint mobile browser activities (left to right): document libraries, timeline and creating a new task.

See the lists of supported mobile device browsers in SharePoint 2013

Device Channels

In support of bring-your-own-devices (BYOD), SharePoint now enables unique, curated experiences via the new Device Channel feature. This is ideal for more complex SharePoint sites where you create a single site and author content for that site, but map the content to use different master pages and style sheets that are specific to a device or group of devices that you choose–rendering the best experience possible for the variety of large and small screens connecting to your company portal. SharePoint helps by auto-detecting the users’ device and serving up your custom templates. The design work is typically done by a Web developer or designer. And uploading and enabling the various templates is an easy IT Pro task. Note, device channels are only available for publishing sites.

Learn more about Device Channels

SharePoint on the go

Life happens, and the latest SharePoint mobile investments make it easier for you to access the content you need wherever you are across a variety of devices. Try Office 365 today and test out the mobile SharePoint capabilities.

Mark Kashman(@mkashman) is a SharePoint Senior Product Manager on the SharePoint team.