A few thoughts on Polaris Office

Although it’s not a feature I was particularlly interested in, so much as the whole dock+battery life thing, I must admit, the Polaris Office suite that ASUS bundled with the Transformers does add value. Most phones come pre loaded with a lot of crapware, and rarely do I actually use any of the crap pre-loaded on my phone, or Andrea. Generally, I don’t need office suites. I used to use word processors excessively so I focus on those tasks. For years now: my word processing tasks get done in Vi IMproved and converted into a format for publishing; such as HTML for web or PDF for general reading. If I wanted someone else to edit the stuff, I would not send an MSWord file either. Read only data should not be sent as a writable .doc[x] file. I don’t do Power PoinT presentations. What stuff most people do with a spreadsheet, I generally do with Python or Perl; a more natural interface for my brain. In fact, there are only about two times that I really use office suites. If I need to share editing tasks with a bunch of people that are probably technically illiterate or just have better things to do than pick up a suitable format; I use Google Docs. For work, I use LibreOffice. That covers both reading whatever files might pop in from other departments but in eningeering we all pretty much rely on plain or marked up text; it’s really mutt/lynx friendly you could say. Something that caught my eye was a comparason of Android office suites over at XDA, Polaris was clearly a solid product. In my own tests, all I can say is that most Android apps for dealing with rich text formats seriously suck. Examples include Google Docs, Blogger, and Evernote; the last is probably the best unless you feel comfortable dealing in HTML for more stuff. Polaris Office is a really is the only Android app that I’ve seen, that really feels like a “Word processor” and so on. Today however, I noticed that the spreadsheet activity may be useful to me. At work, we have time sheets in Excel template format; I have both an Excel (.xls) and Open Document (.ods) files to use as a template; normally I fill it out using LibreOffice and the .ods version, and print it off my work station. I tried opening both files with Polaris Office today, and noticed while it doesn’t understand Open Document formats, viewind and editing the Excel file works perfectly. Rather than screw with Android+Linux+Cloud Print, I just did stuff off my workstation. Why this surprised me is that Google Docs rather fails at doing the same, for both formats. So the question I would have to ask, is how well does Polaris Office do in generating files that work with other office suites (E.g. Microsoft’s), and ditto for interfacing with Google Docs in both directions. Either way, it looks like the ASUS Transformer is as fully functional as my work station and home PC, but sans binary compatbility (x86, x86_64 != ARMv7) and Direct3D. Someday I can’t help but wonder if we will have Android PC’s powerful enough to run Windows in a Virtual Machine for legacy applications.