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Wednesday, December 30, 2009
iPhonetunes review: Quickoffice Mobile Office Suite
iPhonetunes review: Quickoffice Mobile Office Suite

iPhone everywhere, Internet everywhere and Office everywhere. With Quickoffice for the iPhone your employees have no excuse anymore for not producing or reading office files when they are on the go.

Microsoft Office is a software Suite that became the “De facto” standard for any business, school and government in the world. Just recently after many years of ignorance, Governments have started to realize that they couldn’t rely on only one software vendor and mandate the public to use only that standard for documents, spreadsheets and for presentations.

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Office Open XML

The need for an open document standard was obviously born. Almost a decade ago, MS released their first XML based Excel file format (deprecated) and incorporated also the other XML document extensions in MS Office 2003. Starting with MS Office 2007 the Office Open XML file formats have become the default file format. They can be recognized with the .xlsx, .docx and .pptx extensions. In 2008 Office Open XML became also an ISO standard.

Quickoffice documents

You can create Spreadsheets, Documents and Text Files within the application. Quickoffice for iPhone supports the following formats for creating new documents; MS Office 97-2004, XP and MS Office 2007. For reading it even supports a wider range of file types including HTML, PDF, iWork, PNG and MP3 to name just a few.

iPhone app | QuickofficeiPhone app | Quickoffice

doc

Let’s start creating a doc file. In the opening screen of the application you can see a plus in a document icon, which gives you the tree options mentioned above. Selecting document opens a blank document. The filename is Untitled.doc and you have the following advanced features next to writing text of course.

• Markup text, Bold, Italic, Underline, Text (6 different fonts), Text color and Highlight
• Align text, both single lines and paragraphs which is neatly implemented
• Open the onscreen keyboard
• Add or remove Bullets
• Delete text which flashes the screen so you are warned with accidental deletions
• Search

Once your doc is finished it can be saved only as a .doc format. I noticed when you select text, that the app has implemented their own kind of zoom and not following Apple’s standard of the magnification glass. Maybe it is even a more natural way of editing but not following standards is a minus point. Users should not have to learn more iPhone behaviors than necessary. Spelling correction is a requested feature for me although it uses the iPhone Auto-correction (predictive text). All in all, it is a simple and nice way to quickly create a document with the necessary markup.

xls

In the old days I used to create wall sized spreadsheets for the company I worked with. I can say that I am a seasoned user with Excel. It is a fantastic tool that only got better over the years. Now let’s create a spreadsheet with Quickoffice.

When creating a new spreadsheet, called Untitled.xls, you will be presented with an empty sheet with the first cell selected (with the iPhone symbols of selecting text.) You have to double tab a cell to start entering data. I created some random sheet with numbers and added some formulas to it. If you know Excel this will be very straightforward for you. I like the way you can resize cells by tapping in the borderline of them. To select multiple columns, I discovered that you have to double-tab the first one and slide over the others that you want to add. Selecting the whole sheet is the same as in the real Edition of Excel; just tab the most upper left cell.

At the bottom bar you can find these features;

• Markup text; Bold, Italic, Text (7 different fonts), Text color, Background color, Cell borders and Number format.
• Align and wrap text in cells
• Create or select other sheets
• Insert and delete columns and rows
• Delete text without flashing the screen.
• Search

The title bar contains the current cell display with the formula (fx) options. What’s missing here, are the powerful graphing features that makes Excel shine.

iPhone app | QuickofficeiPhone app | Quickoffice

txt

The third document you can create is the text document, the file created is Untitled.txt. This format will come in handy if you are not sure your recipient can’t open .doc files, which the tool creates by default.

At the bottom bar you can find the same features as the Doc editing mode has which makes it an advanced text editor.

Sharing with the world

Documents can be shared with the others via several ways. You can email them as attachments, you also can put them on a remote computer via WIFI. Lucky owners of a MobileMe account can access and share their docs via Apple’s cloud as well.

conclusion

The good
Quickoffice for the iPhone is a mini office suite for mobile people. You can read many file types and create office spreadsheets and Word documents. The software responds fast on my 3G S iPhone and the implementation is done very well. The learning curve is quite low. Also the auto-save and recover function is a plus. It works well over WIFI and is a great remote for MobileMe, and gives your iPhone the WIFI USB stick functionality. Just being able to create Office documents is already a great added value to iPhone’s Swiss Army knife. Credits to Quickoffice Inc to be on the market before Microsoft.

The bad
The price of the app hovers between $19.99 to $6.99 and is currently $9.99, which is quite high. The limitation of the little iPhone screen doesn’t make the iPhone a great productivity tool. Most apps designed for the iPhone are “a few seconds to minute apps” because of this limitation. I don’t see myself creating many documents on it in the near future. With the iPhone always being connected and having constant access to Google docs makes it less “a must have for me”. In this way I also don’t need a MobileMe account per se. The help system was unresponsive but I had only EDGE connection during my test. I couldn’t tell if the app was busy loading or just being unresponsive. What if MS comes on the market in the near future with their Office for iPhone? This would make sense to me.

The ugly
I have a problem with the only filetype being used when saving documents. They are the old .doc and .xls format and not the new Office Open XML file ISO formats. That creates an unnecessary interoperability problem with other platforms.

The one-liner
Quickoffice Mobile Office Suite bridges the Microsoft – Apple gap even further, which is extremely important for iPhone’s Business adaption.

Features – 4.0
Appearance- 4.0
Usability – 4.0
Value – 3.5

Overall 3.875

Note: The application has been provided by Quickoffice Inc for this review.

 


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