Part of work that I do is done while traveling. And since I’m a huge fan of android tablets, the content production has to be done on my Samsung Galaxy tab 2 (which is a really old tablet – not on sale anywhere). So naturally I tried to use on screen keyboard for typing and it was doing the job for small blog posts but a pain in the butt for high quality ~1000 word article production. Then, I bought a keyboard and a mouse with a Bluetooth interface and thought that now I’m done with optimizing the tablet experience. How wrong was I!
Writing an article fast, is paramount to “site promotion” line of business and an office for android is not a matter of simple choice.
An internet article is fairly simple to write in technical terms. All you need is ability to mark the text in various Heading tags. I prefer to mark my subtitles as H2 and important parts (more like announcements) inside them as H4. I need to use bold, underline and Italic easily when I get to the review part of my writing (see my “Writing Fast” article). And all the text needs to be in the p tag automatically, unless I did not make an effort to specify otherwise.
Last part is: ability to make links and insert pictures – nothing fancy, I use only in window\new tab options for links and centering options for images. Although the image part is very unimportant as I prefer to do this in the WordPress native editor – this way less mistakes are made.
Android office suits
As a big fan of google drive on chrome, the same office suite made the list easily.
Rest of the suits were selected based on 3 minute research and they are all free. On my PC laptop I use free software, my tablet apps must be under the same restriction.
So this is what made the list:
- Writer by google drive and Sheets (divide and conquer by the big G 🙂 )
- Kingsoft Office (WPS office – new name apparently)
- Docs to Go
- Polaris office
KPIs – Key Point Indicators
- Ease of use – most of app builders know what they’re doing, especially when they design software for millions of users. So the human engineering LINK part is very important.
- Working with the cloud – organizing your work is a very important part of any writer. Same goes for keeping it safe and accessible. Office suits are business apps and not fun apps, so I would like to see that part understood by office suit creators. I work with Google’s cloud,Drive, and enjoy it very much. Working on a PC – I don’t even feel that it is there, all I see is a small symbol next to folder icon.
- Mouse friendly – I purchased the Bluetooth mouse in order to speed up my review process. I need to see that this actually gives me an extra edge.
- Speed – my tablet is an old one but I would not understand the reason for an office suite that works with text to be slow. My tablet is capable of running HD video, so why would a text processor slow it even a bit?
What I found
Google’s apps – they really suck! The small menu in the top right corner, practically no buttons and no similarity to the application I’m used to have in the PC version. The press release of whatever they call their announcements is actually stating that now, it is practically similar to the experience of the PC version. I checked it twice – the promises are there.
I struggled with the text writing, looked for menus and things got worse when I got to spreadsheets – the control was really bad, had to drag corners of selections, the minimalistic menu was really unhelpful and the styling was slow.
WPS – Kingsoft office – surprisingly pleasant to the eye, although, the menus are really buffed. So when you have a full screen keyboard, you see only a fraction of the screen. With my Bluetooth keyboard things look better as I’m using the null keyboard LINK app that hides the onscreen part and you get more “laptopy” experience. The buttons were fast and pleasant and the application could connect directly to drive with its own nice interface. But it was slow! This app in fact is combining all of the office apps in one app, including PDF reader. So slow! When you open the app, you get to see all your recent docs, which are impossible to find as they are displayed as big pages that can be scrolled left or right – all doc types combined. As a writer working with many docs at once this is inconvenient. There is no order! I had to go to google drive and open docs manually. Why would they have an interface for “recent docs” if the original option is better? The sheets part was nice, until I tried to open one of those sheets on my PC using docs. It was terrible, most of cells were gone, and part of the formatting lost. I checked the file on MS Office to make sure – and yes, it was only partially compatible which demanded an extra effort if you intend to keep using the same file on multiple platforms.
Docs to go was just not polished enough, It might have done the job but it was in a whole other league. I could not connect to it’s style. It happens – sometimes things just don’t click.
Polaris office – at first glance this was it! Nice menus with tons of buttons and enough screen place for the text. It was fast too and I could access my files pretty easily. But then I started typing. The page layout is completely delusional, I don’t even understand why its there, I abandoned my work in order to start from scratch because I could not make it back to the original setting. The styling is missing parts!! That’s right! Bye bye H tags hello some other names that do not translate to HTML as I would expect them to be. This app has a lot going on but it is unsuitable for simple text formatting. Very disappointing. I remember that I got really angry with it and uninstalled it immediately.
Tried Google’s apps again. Now with all the experience it looked entirely different. I could access the style parts in 2 clicks. The text part of the screen was the biggest, the sheets were working perfectly on all platforms and the access was fast! Having an app for text and spreadsheet was a good move, reminding of the PC office solutions. Snappy and simple – very effective when it comes to actual editing. The one thing I could not find was links. Which is very, very weird!
The winner is Google docs. It was good enough for everything and did not mess up the parts that were actually weaker. So thanks for that. I was unable to find the links part but I prefer to edit them on my WordPress editor so I could assign the link actions to them at the same time they are created. This article is composed in google docs but it will be long till I will use only this app in order to create an article end to end. This means that tablet is less effective in terms of text production in general.
While writing this investigation I found that an Android version of OpenOffice was released in play store. This means that more testing is required, I will share my results once I’m done investigating.
I think that I touched a sensitive nerve of some of my readers, if you disagree or want to know more, please let me know in the comments below. Your opinion matters!