There are plenty of iOS apps that deliver the core functions of Microsoft Office – Apple’s iWork, Quickoffice, Documents 2 Go, and Office2 being the most common selections. There are, however, gaps in what all these products deliver.
From a business and collaboration standpoint, the biggest missing features are integration with Microsoft’s Track Changes feature and the ability to access Sharepoint. While there hasn’t been any progress on the Track Changes front (OnLive Desktop and CloudOn are still the only real options), there are options for Sharepoint – the most recent being harmon.ie Mobile.
Multiple free accounts can mean unlimited cloud storage but with serious tradeoffs
Almost every cloud storage service on the Internet operates using a freemium model. Anyone who signs up gets a certain amount of storage for free. When someone uses up all their free storage, they can add more for a fee. Cloud providers usually layer on a few extra features for paid customers like the ability to stream audio files or the ability to restore deleted files or older versions of documents.
With so many free options, however, it can be tempting to use multiple services simultaneously. Add files to a free Dropbox account up till the free 2GB, then create an account with Box for the next 5GB (Box’s free limit), then create a SugarSync account and on and on.
This approach, known as cloud squatting, effectively nets users unlimited free storage so long as they’re willing to play an ongoing game of musical chairs with their data. iOS and other mobile apps that can access and edit files across different services make it surprisingly easy for users to become cloud squatters – and it’s surprisingly difficult for a business or IT department to prevent or deal with cloud squatting employees.
Quickoffice announced its new cloud service known as Connect at the end of last month. The service is designed to sync Microsoft Office documents between your iOS devices, Android devices, Macs, and PCs. It’s an extension to the Quickoffice apps for iOS and other mobile platforms that offer the ability to create, edit, and view Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files on the go.
Connect by Quickoffice is now available from the App Store and it’s a very slick app and a great addition for any iOS user or mobile professional.
Could/developer partnerships fill the file management void in iOS
It seems that every week for the past few months, there’s been at least one or two announcements of app developers, cloud service providers, and mobile management vendors developing strategic partnerships to create or integrate their products into a single unified workflow.
Box’s OneCloud initiative, in which the storage provider teamed up with more than two dozen app developers to create seamless workflows for several different business and productivity tasks, is probably the biggest example of this trend. Others include Quickoffice launching its own cloud service as well as integrating with Accellion’s kitedrive, LogMeIn’s new Cubby service, and CloudOn’s virtualized version of Microsoft Office that integrates with Box and Dropbox for storage.
CloudOn updates its cloud-based Office suite with some killer features
Today CloudOn released the first major update to its cloud-based Microsoft Office solution. Like OnLive Desktop, which recently made changes to comply with Microsoft’s Windows licensing model, CloudOn delivers virtual copies of Windows versions the three core Office tools. Unlike OnLive, however, CloudOn doesn’t provide a virtual Windows desktop and the company doesn’t provide its own cloud storage for user documents.
Instead, CloudOn integrates with Box and Dropbox to provide document storage and sharing. The interface of the company’s iPad app provides a simple launcher and file browser. When one of the Office apps (or the newly added Adobe Reader app and File Viewer) is launched a virtual instance of that app is provided from the CloudOn servers.
The same company that brought top-shelf game titles to the Mac is soon planning to bring many of those same games to the iPad. Today, though, OnLive has announced an app that lets you view and use Windows 7 applications on your iPad. It’s free, and it’ll hit the App Store this Thursday.