BlackBerry smartphones have always been known for their excellent e-mail handling. But they haven't been as well-regarded for their selection of office software. That's beginning to change, as more and more new BlackBerry phones (like the Pearl Flip 8220) come pre-loaded with office suites. But if you own a BlackBerry that didn't come with an office suite, you're not out of luck. The latest version of eOffice will turn your BlackBerry into a mobile office.
More Than Just Editing
The $40 eOffice 4.5 will allow you to create, view, and edit Microsoft Word and Excel files on your BlackBerry. You also can use the suite to view Microsoft PowerPoint files and PDFs. The ability to create new documents and spreadsheets is key; many mobile office applications will allow you to view and edit existing documents only, but it's always nice to be able to create them on your phone, too.
You can download the application to your phone using the included browser. I tested it on a BlackBerry Curve 8320 (eOffice 4.5 is compatible with all phones running version 4.5 and pre 4.5 versions of the BlackBerry OS) connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi, and the installation was a snap. Within minutes, my mobile office was up and running.
Easy on the Eyes
I particularly like eOffice's bright interface. All of the options are clearly labeled, and you can easily scroll through the menus using the BlackBerry controls. Creating new Word documents and Excel spreadsheets is a snap, though typing on the small keyboard and peering at a dense document on the small screen can be a strain.
I was able to open spreadsheets and PDFs created on a desktop computer, and they all retained their formatting. Viewing the entire documents required some extensive scrolling, but that's to be expected when you're using a smartphone.
New in version 4.5 of eOffice is integration with Google Docs and Spreadsheets. eOffice features a direct link to Google's applications in its main menu. You'll need an Internet connection (preferably a fast one) in order to access these Web-based applications, but the experience is much like accessing Google Docs from your computer--with a lot more scrolling, of course.
You can use eOffice to open documents that are sent to your BlackBerry as e-mail attachments, and the application lets you send files as e-mail attachments, too. In addition, you can pair your BlackBerry with a compatible printer to send documents for printing. eOffice also allows you to access documents that are stored on your PC -- right from your BlackBerry. You'll need to install a small utility on your computer to do so, but it's a handy way to make sure you always have access to the files you need.
If you need to use your BlackBerry to get work done while you're away from the office, consider eOffice.