One of the things that’s been noticeably lacking from BlackBerry devices has been a native document editor. That’s all changing, as Documents on the Go will come with OS 4.5 and up. However, even here it is just a program which allows you to edit documents attached to emails — though there are workarounds. If you’re looking for a document editor and creator, you might want to check out eOffice 4.5 for BlackBerry (the link to the store is version 4.3.027, but will be updated — as will the price).
Documents and Spreadsheets
Clearly, the most popular features of eOffice are the document and spreadsheet applications, which function similarly to Microsoft Word and Excel. The newest version of eOffice not only gives you the ability to view these files, but you can also edit them and attach them to emails. So even if you’re out of the office, you can take care of basic tasks.
We said, though, that we’re looking for a program that can create new documents. That’s what you get with the commercial license for eOffice 4.5. Just click in the menu button when you open the application, and you’ll get a menu which allows you to create new documents and spreadsheets. They have the native apps eWord and eCell, which are pretty self-explanatory. They also have ePad, a Notepad-esque application for shorter documents.
As for creating documents, well, have fun with that if it’s your thing. I love my ‘Berry and all, but to tap out a 5,000 word document on it seems a bit excessive. It reminds me of Robin Williams in RV, sitting on a public toilet and tapping out a presentation on his BlackBerry. While it’s not for me, though, others might have no problem with the thumb exercise. If that’s your bag, you might want to nab an Xtensor finger exerciser.
The functionality on eCell, while basic, was still more than enough to fulfill my personal spreadsheet needs. Creating new spreadsheets can be a pain, but that’s to be expected. Entering in text on a ‘Berry is one thing. Entering in strings upon strings of numbers is another. Still, as a last resort for document creation, this works pretty well.
Remote file manager
No here’s what we’re talking about. Not only can you access local files stored on your BlackBerry or media card, but eOffice 4.5 allows you to tap into your PC, whether personal or at work. So no matter where you are, as long as you get a data connection, you can access, download, edit, and attach any document from any computer you own or use. Sounds like an efficient way to stay mobile.
This really helps in making your BlackBerry a virtual office. If you can access remote files, you can basically do anything you can at your desktop. Of course, the thumb typing and small screen might get to people. But for us BlackBerry veterans, it’s cake. Well, as I said, except for the typing 5,000 word documents or articles.
Hey, anyone want to review the eOffice file manager? I would, but the rub is that I use a Mac, and it’s just not compatible. That acts as my work and personal computer, so I’m kinda out of luck here. If you get eOffice and want to have your words featured here, hit me at jpawlikowski at bbgeeks. I’ll paste it up here with attribution and everything.
Google Docs support
This is a great additional feature for eOffice 4.5. Many companies, notably smaller ones, are using Google Docs to handle their files. The advantage, of course, is that they can be accessed from anywhere you can get an Internet connection. This can save companies money and man-hours on server and IT costs. With eOffice 4.5, you can tap into Google Docs libraries and access the files, just as you would from your PC or laptop.
The first advantage is that Google Docs is getting better all the time. Last year at this time, it was barely functional. You could type and save, and there were a few features you cold access, like word count. Now the Google Documents is starting to look a lot more like Microsoft Office. It will likely never replace the document powerhouse, but we also might be comparing apples to oranges here. Google isn’t trying to trump Office. It’s trying to offer word processing and spreadsheets on a different platform, on the Web rather than on the operating system.
The other advantage is that it allows for mass collaboration. Many individuals and companies are using the Google spreadsheets to host surveys. Companies can use this to track the progress of projects. Basically, it helps keep people connected, regardless of location.
Print and fax
Sometimes you just need it in black and white. When you’re finished editing your documents on your BlackBerry with eOffice, you can then print them out or fax them. Just set it up with a compatible printer, or send to a fax number, and you’ll be set.
I really enjoyed my time with eOffice 4.5. The biggest upgrade to me was the inclusion of Google Docs. I use them all the time, so being able to access them via another program is something I’ve been looking for. Yes, you can always download the Google Docs mobile application. But as I said in the Viigo 3.0 review, sometimes it’s better to have one application that can run two. Google Docs app can’t run eOffice, but eOffice can run Google Docs, just as Viigo can access Google Reader.
The ability to access phone and memory card data is another plus. There’s only so much storage room — in fact, I had to delete a few applications upon installing eOffice. So it’s nice that you can see the memory usage from the device and decide if you need to move or delete anything.
You can nab eOffice for $29.95. It’ll be available in the BBGeeks Store in the next couple of days.