Do you need an Office suite on a smartphone?

Summary:Windows Mobile Smartphones do not have native or even 3rd party software that allows you to create and edit all types of Office documents while Symbian and Palm devices do have this ability. Some say that viewers are enough and even then Microsoft relies on a 3rd party developer to provide this functionality. Does Microsoft need to improve in this area to become more competitive in the enterprise market?

My fellow Mobius mobile enthusiast, Arne Hess, has added some new members to his staff over at the::unwired and one new staff member, Alfredo Padilla, has a new Thoughts article questioning Why is there no Office suite on a Windows Mobile Smartphone?. We have had this discussion before at a Mobius event and it seems that most users are satisfied with the ability to view Office documents on a WM Smartphone using a 3rd party application. However, as the Smartphone hardware evolves with devices like the Motorola Q and Samsung i320 I think Microsoft has to take another look at whether or not they should develop a WM Smartphone version of Office.

Pocket PC and Phone Edition devices has a full mobile Office suite and there are some powerful alternatives for Word and Excel Mobile as well. Alredo mentions one Excel alternative for the WM Smartphone, but I have never seen a Word alternative. Back when these Smartphones just had a keypad and small display it didn't seem to make much sense to have full Office functionality, but with keyboards and larger 320x240 displays people may be looking for something more. My Nokia E61 comes with a very good Office compatible suite built right into the ROM and there are even alternatives like Mobile Systems Office Suite and Quick Office. Palm OS users also have alternative choices with Documents To Go, Quick Office, and more. However, after using mobile devices for many years, I personally still view documents much more than I actually create or edit them so I am satisfied with a viewer/reader on my phone device for now. Do you want full Office functionality on your smartphone?

Topics: Smartphones


Matthew Miller started using mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host, with ZDNet's Kevin Tofel, of the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned more than 2... Full Bio

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