Five solid alternatives to Microsoft Office Mobile
It's a while to wait until 2010 and the roll out of Office Mobile across Nokia phones. You may want to work on your mobile now. You may not have a Nokia. You may not even like Microsoft. So here a few alternatives available right now for a world of spreadsheets and word processing on the hoof:
It's an obvious starter but for two very good reasons - it's completely universal and completely free. The sub-bonus is that a lot of you are probably already familiar with the package that consists of web-based word processor, spread sheet and presentation applications. Access on your mobile works through an aggregator app available for all good smartphones but you are limited to documents and spreadsheets for the time being, with only the iPhone and Android versions increasing the scope to viewing presentations as well.
Platforms - All
Cost - Free
A little more to play with here but only a little. Zoho Office is a web-based suite which you can access through your phone via the Zoho mobile site. Like Google, you can download apps too for native access but this time each appliction is separate and can you also get a database program to play with. Again, it's largely viewing only but all of the above programs are available on all the smartphone platforms this time, with doc creation and editing reserved for iPhone and Android use for now.
Platforms - All
Cost - Free
Documents To Go
If that's not enough, it's time to get the wallet out because the sad news is that most developers don't make file and document suites for the love of it. Funny that. On the plus side, you do get genuine compatability with Microsoft file types.
A good place to start is with DataViz and their Documents To Go soultiuon. The idea here is that you that you can select the level of functionality that's right for you without having to pay through the nose for the whole suite. It starts at absoultely nothing if you happen to have the Palm OS. Most Palm handsets ship with the Documents To Go Professional option that allows users to create, edit and view Word, Excel and Powerpoint files.
Android gives you Excel and Word doc viewing for free but it goes up to $29.99 if you're after full editing as well as access to PDFs and Powerpoint.
It's the Premium $49.99 version only for BlackBerry handsets and there's no Symbian 60 support at all. The bargain of the bunch, though, is for the iPhone app at just $4.99, but that's only with powers to edit Word docs. Your Excels, PowerPoints, iWorks and PDFs can only be viewed.
Platforms - No S60
Cost - Shipped with and up to $49.99
MobiSytems offers up the S60 revenge in the shape of OfficeSuite 5 for Symbian. No messing about here. It costs £17.99 for full access to Word, Excel and PowerPoint up to Office 2007. There's a free trial if want to hedge your bets but you can take comfort that it's generally well appreciated across the web.
Platforms - S60
Cost - £17.99
QuickOffice Premier 6 is the main competition on S60 for MobiSystems. It has the same functions but comes in at a more generous $19 after a recent price cut. Once again BlackBerry owners are flayed at $29.99 with the eOffice pacakge in excahange for some printing and faxing features; the iPhone gets a well-streamlined Excel and Word full access app for $12.99 and on Android you can buy a pricey Excel and Word view only solution for $9.99. No support for the Pre.
Platforms - All but the Palm Pre
Cost - $9.99 to $29.99
In all, there's perhaps not as much support out there for documents and files as one might expect and the free mobile services are certainly taking their time to catch up. It's really a question of how long you can wait and just how much these Microsoft Office Nokia handsets are going to cost.
Let us know in the comments if you've found any mobile office gems out there.