iPads, Honeycomb Tablets Get a Rain of Office Productivity from Cloud

by Reads (4,205)

As increasingly usable office productivity tools make their way to iPads and other tablets, two companies — Soonr and Byte –made separate announcements this week around new touch-enabled and cloud-based software tools for editing, backing up, and storing Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel Docs.

Soonr Workplace, a “secure” cloud-based doc environment for tablets, is now available for both iPads and Android Honeycomb tablets. The iPad edition also includes integrated tools for editing and updating Microsoft Office docs.

“What’s exciting right now is that tablets are becoming desktop replacements,” contended Martin Frid-Nelson, Soonr’s co-founder and CEO, in an interview with TabletPCReview.

Byte’s Office2 HD app, on the other hand, adds creation, editing and cloud storage of PowerPoint presentations to its previous support for Word and Excel docs in the newly unveiled version 4.0.

HD 4.0 allows Microsoft Office and Adobe PDF docs to be stored either on an iPad or in any of several outside cloud environments, including DropBox, Apple’s MobileMe, and Box.net, for instance. 

Traditionally mouse- and keyboard-driven functions such as changing fonts or centering a Word doc are performed through touch.  You can also view and edit cloud-based Google Docs in HD. E-mailing of office docs is supported, too.

Soonr Targets SMBs
For its part, Soonr has been offering cloud-based storage ever since 2005 through alliances with telecom carriers and vendors like Cisco and Intel. Soonr Workplace, though, is its first company-branded product for tablets.

Soonr is a particularly secure cloud storage space for Office docs, providing 260-bit encryption and HIPAA and SAS 70 compliance, according to the CEO.

The new Soonr Workplace is aimed mainly at SOHO users and SMBs of up to 100 employees, particularly in fields such as graphic design and finance, where online collaboration is becoming more and more important.

Unlike competing cloud services for tablets, such as MobileMe and Drop Box, the iPad version integrates editing of Word, PowerPoint and Excel within the online storage and back-up environment. The editing feature supports Microsoft Office 2010 (Word only) and Microsoft Office 2003 (Word, PowerPoint, and Excel).

“With Soonr Workplace [for iPad], you only need to perform one download,” he elaborated. “You don’t need to do a separate download of [a doc editing app], and then get the two apps point to each other.”

While Apple is rumored to be building a similar solution for MobileMe, no such announcement has been made yet, he noted.

In contrast, the Android edition of Soonr Workplace is currently limited to storing, sharing, and syncing of docs, although it can be used in conjunction with either Dataviz’s Documents to Go or Quickoffice’s tools for creating and editing docs.

Soonr is also eyeing the possibility of future editions of Workplace for other tablets, such as RIM’s PlayBook and HP WebOS devices.

“But most of the tablets out there still are iPads, and as we see it, even Android tablets are just in the beginning stages,” he added.

Byte’s Office HD 4.0 is now downloadable from Apple’s App Store at pricing of $7.99.

Soonr Workplace is downloadable from Apple’s App Store, the Android Market, and Soonr’s Web site.

A free trial of Soonr’s service is also available on Soonr’s Web site. Soonr Premium costs $7.95 for three users and 10 G of storage. Soonr Pro is priced at $19.95 per month for five users and 40 GB of storage. The cloud-based doc storage place also supports Windows and Mac PCs and multiplatform smartphones.




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