The right office apps for the Android at work
If your company allows employees to use Android smartphones, here are the productivity apps you should install
The best Android word processor
Android's top office suites vary greatly when it comes to their word processing capabilities. Some features, such as revision tracking, are absent across the board, but many other advanced features are available and incredibly user-friendly.
Documents to Go: Documents to Go's word processor is clean, simple, and easy to use. The majority of the screen's real estate is taken up by your document, with all controls accessible via your Android smartphone's Menu button. Tapping that key brings up a host of options, including the full range of standard formatting commands and advanced word processing tools, such as word count, comment insertion, and table creation.
Documents to Go lets you open and save files locally, on your Android smartphone's SD card. It also integrates with Google Docs and includes an optional PC-based program that syncs folders directly between your smartphone and your computer.
OfficeSuite Pro: OfficeSuite Professional offers many of the same features as Documents to Go, but the interface feels markedly less polished. Something as simple as starting a new document requires you to look in a secondary menu, which wasn't immediately apparent to me upon opening the program.
The word processor itself, however, is relatively full-featured, with the standard set of editing and formatting options. OfficeSuite can perform word counts and tables -- if you can find the buried options for those functions -- and it supports both local and Google Docs-based file access.
Quickoffice: The overall interface of Quickoffice is visually pleasing and easy to navigate. The app's word processor, unfortunately, feels limited. There are no options for table creation, and although the company's website claims the app can handle bulleted lists and word counts, I was unable to find those options anywhere in the program. The reason, the company finally admitted: These promised features don't actually exist in Quickoffice, though there are plans to add them. Particularly disappointing, Quickoffice doesn't support clipboard access or any kind of cut-and-paste functionality. Overall, I found the Quickoffice word processor very frustrating to use.
On the plus side, Quickoffice offers integration with a variety of cloud-based storage providers, including Google Docs, Dropbox, Box.net, Huddle, and MobileMe.
ThinkFree: ThinkFree's main app interface is divided into sections based on where your documents are stored: locally, on your smartphone; online, at ThinkFree's own storage site, which offers 1GB of free space; or online, within Google Docs. To create a new document, you have to first tap on one of these sections, then press your smartphone's Menu button to find the option. This is not very intuitive and took some exploring to figure out.
Once you're inside the word processor, ThinkFree provides many common functions in a scrollable bar at the bottom of the screen. From that bar, you can insert images, format text, and adjust some text formatting options. All the functions are represented by visual icons, and some of them are difficult to decode. The virtual keyboard also fails to automatically appear when you tap the text area of the screen; instead, you have to find and select the keyboard icon to force it to display. Additionally, text selection is difficult to figure out, and advanced functions like word counts and tables are not provided.
Google Docs: The Google Docs Web interface, accessed by visiting docs.google.com from your smartphone's browser, is as simple as it gets: The site presents you with a list of documents saved in your Google Docs account and a tiny button to create a new document.
Although formatting is preserved in existing documents, Google Docs doesn't really have any options for altering text in a newly created file. If you need to do basic viewing or very basic editing, it'll get the job done quickly and easily -- but if your requirements are more involved, Google Docs likely won't be enough for you.
The verdict: All considered, Documents to Go is the way to go when it comes to Android word processing. From its interface to its strong set of editing capabilities, it's in a league all its own.