The iPad is great for many things, but as a work device less so. One criticism we’ve constantly heard from friends and colleagues is that it’s not that great for working on. For hammering out the occasional blog post, sending the odd email here and there, it’s fine. But for editing documents and doing some actual work, you’re better off reaching for your notebook.
Picsel’sOffice 1.5, available now, should go some way to improving the iPad’s usefulness as a work tool. And, as it’s available for Android, it’ll be ideal for the forthcoming slew of Honeycomb tablets as well.
Cross-platform support/platform agnosticism (whatever you want to call it) is one of the best things aboutOffice 1.5. As well as iOS and Android, Smart Office 1.5 is available for Symbian S60 and Samsung’s Bada OS as well.
It essentially means that one person can start writing or editing a Word document or Excel spreadsheet on an iPad or iPhone, upload it to the cloud via Dropbox, where others could access the file on their HTC Desire, Motorola Xoom or Nokia N8s.
The app itself is really easy to use and boasts a fresh, easy to navigate layout. We’ve played around with versions on our iPad and Nexus One and, obviously allowing for screen size and OS differences (SwiftKey > the iPad’s keyboard – FACT) found the two apps to work more or less the same.
The text selection tool is really easy to use. You just double tap on any word and it’s then highlighted, with little orange selection markers on either side that you can drag left or right accordingly. Exactly like the text selection method seen on Android 2.3 and 3.0.
There’s also a little grab tool which hangs down underneath which allows you to easily drag ‘n drop and move entire paragraphs or sentences around in a document. This same hover-over tool also gives you options to do things like add basic effects (bold italic and underline) and change the font style and size.
There’s only a handful of supported fonts at the moment. So if you’re the kind of person who likes to write all official docs in Copperplate Gothic Bold you’re going to be disappointed.
Exporting documents is only handled via Dropbox at the moment. This means you’ll need a Dropbox account if you want to send stuff to other devices. We understand that Picsel is working on integrating Google Docs support with future editions of Smart Office, which ought to make accessing your docs from the cloud and sharing files on the go a bit easier.
Smart Office 1.5 is available to download now from each respective app store for £5.99. If you can convince your boss that this’ll up your productivity, you can probs put it on expenses or something.