Best Office Application for Android
We all know how versatile and powerful today's smartphones are, with numerous games and apps showing off their fun sides.
But what about the boring stuff? What about when you really need to edit potentially libellous statements out of a Word document in a hurry?
Android has a wealth of productivity tools at its disposal, ranging from free and simple text editors and "to do" lists up to impressively feature-packed and rather costly suites of document management apps that promise PowerPoint and Excel editing on your mobile.
Official options are a little lacking, though. There's no proper version of Open Office on Android, for example, while rival smartphone maker Microsoft is obviously a little reluctant to launch any official MS Office apps on Android as well.
Fortunately for business-minded users, Android has many third-party options offering similar collections of fully compatible office apps, optical character readers, scanners and converters, all ready to let you use your phone for something a little more useful than moaning on Twitter all day.
So here are our 10 Android office apps so you can make your phone work a bit harder.
1. Google Docs
As well as an excellent mobile web interface accessed through the Android browser, Google has recently released a separate Android Google Docs app. The benefits are integration with your Contacts list for easy file sharing, plus it uses your Android phone's camera as a character reader to scan documents. The Android app also supports Google's collaborative editing system - as long as you're using a mobile data connection of some sort.
2. Quickoffice Pro
This is a rather expensive option coming in at whatever the current equivalent of $14.99 is, but you do get a lot in the Quickoffice Pro bundle. It implements proper support for Office apps on Android, letting users read, edit and create docs on the fly. It even manages PowerPoint, but you'll need something with a decent size screen to use it to a satisfactory degree.
3. Olive Office Premium
If you'd prefer a free option, Olive Office Premium does a similar job of supporting Office docs on Android. It handles Word, Excel and PowerPoint, plus docs saved in Adobe's PDF format. It supports rich text, tables, images and charts, making Android look properly businesslike.
4. CamScanner - Phone PDF Creator
A more advanced version of the document scanner found within the Google Docs app, CamScanner lets users import various office docs into Android by converting photos into PDF format. Its most useful feature is a batch mode for paging through endless docs and taking photos of each page, which then get auto-cropped and saved in one exciting file. The free version is ad supported, plus there's a paid release if you want to do away with the banners.
5. OpenOffice Document Reader
Thomas Taschauer is a very clever individual who has created his ownOpenOffice Android app, which is a decent attempt at bringing full support to Android. There are some problems with formatting and displaying images and, more critically, a lack of editing abilities. But for reading ODS and ODT files on your Android device it's a useful, and free, option.
6. SwiftKey X
SwiftKey is only an alternate Android keyboard, but it has one significantly useful feature for work use. The app's learning system means it analyses your typing as you type, memorising what you write. If you've just typed a sentence, starting afresh with the same word will magically recreate the whole text, one word after the other. There will be occasions where you lose a big chunk of copy - SwiftKey can often remember it for you.
7. ThinkFree Office Mobile Viewer
ThinkFree is one of the bigger providers of Office compatible apps for Android. It's pre-loaded on many phones, with a free version up on the Android Market to try if it's not already installed on yours. The free version only offers doc reading, with full editing functions saved for the paid version. There's also a specific tablet release - ThinkFree Mobile for Tablet - which comes with a suitably bland desktop look. You don't want colours distracting you from work.
8. Documents To Go 3.0
DataViz's Documents to Go app is another popular choice for supporting Office on Android, with PowerPoint, Word, Excel and the usual file types on the compatibility list. The free version only offers reading access, with the $14.99 paid option adding editing options. It lets you import your Google Docs files, plus the Word app handles rich text, tables, footnotes and much more.
9. Picsel Smart Office
Another paid option, Smart Office features a more glamorous user interface than the others, also including what it calls the "World's first stereo 3D document viewing". That will really put you into the heart of the meeting like never before. It supports the major versions of MS Office from 97 up to 2010, has a custom clipboard and text reflowing, plus there's an additional tablet interface if you're using it on a tab of some sort.
OfficeDrop is another doc scanner and reader, only it comes with its own "web-based document portal" allowing users to access and manage their scanned receipts and docs via desktop as well. Files scanned in via your Android phone's camera are converted to PDF format, with the app letting you search through, label and organise the results.