A full desktop office suite goes mobile

While there are plenty of office apps around, none of them has quite the full functionality of a desktop suite. The ambitious aim of the developers of AndrOpen Office was to fork the Apache OpenOffice suite to Android.

So here it is, complete with six built-in programs: Writer (word processor), Calc (spreadsheet), Impress (presentation), Draw (drawing), Math (equation editor) and Base (database). But can such a straight port of desktop software really work well on small touchscreens?

It all takes a while to get started. After downloading a fairly hefty app fi le and launching it, tapping one of the options (text fi le, spreadsheet etc) on the main menu results in a further download of resources. Then you have to wait for it to start up. After eventually getting to the Writer screen, we were greeted by a standard desktop-style menubar atop a zoomed-in blank page. Tapping the monitor icon brought up a panel enabling us to zoom out and navigate/scroll the page via various arrows – hardly ideal and taking up more screen space. While the keyboard input supports swiping for predictive text, it doesn’t automatically insert spaces after each word.

Switching out to open a spreadsheet in Calc, we encountered an error and had to tap it several times. Again, the interface doesn’t make it that easy to navigate documents on a small screen, but the comprehensive Excel-style spreadsheet functionality will prove a boon to some users who need the full functionality.

Indeed, this is a theme repeated in the other modules – including, unusually, a full database application. So, while a clumsy interface and complete lack of cloud options mean this is unlikely to be your go-to mobile offi ce suite, it could prove useful on occasion when you need that extra functionality.