By Harry McCracken | Thursday, April 2, 2009 at 6:41 pm
There may be rumors flying around an official Microsoft Office for the iPhone, but here’s a fact: Quickoffice, the venerable, Office-compatible suite for handhelds, has submitted its iPhone version to Apple for approval. (I first wrote about it back in September.) The company expects for the suite to show up in the App Store by mid-April or so, which should make it the first full-blown suite for iPhones. (Quickoffice has been selling an early version under the name MobileFiles for awhile, but it didn’t include a word processor; archrival DataViz is working on Documents to Go for the iPhone, but it isn’t out yet.)
I got a peek at Quickoffice for the iPhone at CTIA Wireless yesterday, and judging from what I saw, it’ll be a welcome addition to my own personal iPhone. Quickoffice includes editing and viewing of richly-formatted Word and Excel documents, plus a utility for shuttling documents between the phone and a Mac or PC (via MobileMe’s iDisk or Wi-Fi) and additional file viewers.
Not surprisingly, Quickoffice had to come up with its own cut-and-paste interface for use within its applications, since Apple just announced native cut and paste and won’t release it until this summer. Quickoffice’s approach isn’t identical to Apple’s, but it looks pretty good–and the company says it’ll support the iPhone 3.0’s version too when it’s available.
Two striking things missing from Quickoffice for the iPhone are the ability to edit file attachments from the iPhone’s e-mail app (that won’t be easy unless Apple decides to let third-party apps get at attachments, although Quickoffice told me that it’s experimenting with workarounds) and a PowerPoint-compatible presentation app (the company says its customers haven’t expressed much interest in one).
Quickoffice’s various components will be available separately at various price points, but the whole suite will cost just $20. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to build fancy documents from scratch on a phone without a physical keyboard, but for quick tweaks to Word and Excel files and other simple work, it looks like it should do the trick nicely. Here are a few screens supplied by the company (the first one shows the cut-and-paste interface):