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Microsoft's Lync plants its flag in Android tablets

Microsoft has released a new version of its Lync client for Android that now works on tablets as well as smartphones, expanding the footprint of its fast-growing unified communications product.

There are already Lync apps for iOS -- iPhone and iPad -- Windows Phone and Windows 8.1.

"The Lync team understands that people use a variety of devices, and we want to open the door for everyone to enjoy a great communications experience--no matter where you are or what device you're using," wrote Barak Manor, product manager for Lync Mobile, in a blog post.

The new Lync app for Android requires that the tablet or smartphone be running version 4.0 or higher of the Google OS, and that the device have a 1.2Ghz dual-core or higher CPU. It won't run on devices using Tegra 2 chipsets.

Lync's server, which can be hosted on a private cloud or Microsoft's Office 365 public cloud suite, provides customers with IM, presence, Web meetings, audio chat, video conferencing and IP telephony.

It competes against offerings from vendors including Cisco, IBM, Avaya, Google, Siemens, Alcatel-Lucent, Mitel and ShoreTel. Lync's revenue grew about 25 percent in Microsoft's financial quarter ended Dec. 31, and in "double digits" the quarter after that.

The new Android app also gives Lync customers more flexibility. One new feature is the ability to add participants to a Lync meeting already in progress. Another is the capacity to start an ad hoc group conversation, without sending formal invitations to each participant, by inviting a defined group of contacts from a contacts list.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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