Stick with the original Quickoffice HD app and either Dropbox or Box instead for a more reliable, cheaper alternative
Quickoffice rivals Apple's iWork suite as the best office productivity app for the iPad and iPhone, and it is unquestionably the best office app for Android devices. It makes sense to choose Quickoffice as the standard mobile office app in workplaces that have a mix of iOS and Android devices. It also makes sense that you'd want access to your documents from any device you happen to have in front of you, whether it runs iOS, Android, Mac OS X, or Windows. A cloud-savvy office app that lets you continue to work on your projects as you move from one device to another is a no-brainer.
That's the promise of Connect by Quickoffice, a marriage of the standard Quickoffice app and a cloud storage and sharing service very similar to Box. But this marriage was made in hell, and anyone joining the family will reside in an unhappy, dysfunctional home. The Quickoffice part of Connect by Quickoffice is the same Quickoffice you can get in the Apple App Store or in the Google Play market, so the flaw is not there. Instead, it's the Connect part of the Connect by Quickoffice union that contains the dysfunction.
UPDATE: On June 4, Quickoffice announced it was being acquired by Google and would shut down Quickoffice Connect as of July 15, 2012. Users' data would be moved to Google Drive.
[ Get the best apps for your mobile device: InfoWorld picks the best iPad office apps, the best iPad specialty business apps, the best Android office apps, and the best Android specialty apps. | Keep up on key mobile developments and insights with the Mobile Edge blog and Mobilize newsletter. ]
Connect offers a dubious value proposition
What the free app and its annual subscription service are supposed to do is sync your documents across all your devices (like Apple's iCloud but without the restriction to iOS and OS X), so the documents can be accessed from any device at any time. You can also access your other devices from Connect by Quickoffice to transfer files between them. Thus, you can edit your documents on an iOS or Android device using the solid Quickoffice app, even if those documents are stored elsewhere. On OS X or Windows, you can access the synced copies of those files in Microsoft Office or Apple's iWork suite. All that sounds great.
But it also sounds a lot like using Box or Dropbox within Quickoffice -- which you can do with the paid version of Quickoffice that InfoWorld has long recommended. Connect by Quickoffice costs $45 per year for use on two devices (PCs and/or mobile devices) and $60 per year for use on as many as six devices. That compares to a one-time $20 fee for an iOS or Android device and no fee to enable file access on a PC or Mac via any of the standard sharing mechanisms available for those platforms. Basically, it's cheaper to buy the regular Quickoffice licenses.
The company (also named Quickoffice) justifies the annual cost by pointing out that you can share comments with others in a workgroup directly from Connect by Quickoffice, without using the Dropbox or Box app. The company also notes that such sharing requires a paid subscription to set up with Dropbox or Box. Fair enough, but at least these services' paid sharing is available beyond the Quickoffice environment.
The first flaw in Connect by Quickoffice is that it duplicates what you likely already have but makes you keep paying for it -- an unwelcome approach that Adobe has been trying to impose on Creative Suite users as well. After all, the regular Quickoffice has no annual fee, and most people need just the free Dropbox or Box service, unless they require high-capacity storage or corporate Box management services. Plus, chances are that if you need Dropbox or Box options requiring a subscription, you'll need them whether or not you use Quickoffice.
|Test Center Scorecard|
|Connect by Quickoffice 1.0||7||7||5||5||5|
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