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8/27/2012
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Google Nexus 7: A Work Tablet?

Google's first Android tablet, with its fast quad-core processor, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system, compact size, and hi-res screen, offers the best bang for the buck of any tablet available today. It's the snappiest, most comfortable-feeling tablet I've tested.

Doing "real work" on the Nexus 7

Obviously the Nexus 7 is a great device for browsing the Web, watching videos, playing music, and reading ebooks. But can you do enough "real work" on it to justify your company buying you one?

In addition to Android apps for email, contacts, calendar, and communications that are preinstalled or that you can add, there are several other third-party productivity apps available that offer Microsoft Office-like features, including compatibility with Word, Excel, and Powerpoint file formats. One real plus with these apps is that they let you use either internal storage or cloud services as the source and destination for files, so transferring or syncing your work among your tablet, laptop, and desktop computers is easy.

Let's take a quick look at six Android productivity apps available for the Nexus 7:

  • OfficeSuite Pro
  • QuickOffice Pro
  • Kingsoft Office
  • Google Drive
  • LogMeIn
  • SketchBook Mobile


OfficeSuite Pro

This $15 Android app lets you create and edit documents in Word, Powerpoint, and Excel formats. You can try this app for seven days using a free, fully-functional trial version, so you'll have plenty of time to find out whether it's worth purchasing.


(click images to enlarge)


Quickoffice Pro HD

Unfortunately, there's no free-trial version of this $20 Office-style app, although as with all apps purchased in the Google Android Market you can cancel your purchase within 15 minutes for a full refund. One potential advantage of QuickOffice is that it's also available for iOS. Another is that Google recently acquired Quickoffice, so it could be moving toward a phase of rapid evolution.

Below, I created some simple Powerpoint slides and spreadsheets using Quickoffice.


(click images to enlarge)

Unfortunately, Quickoffice can't create charts from spreadsheet data. I used OfficeSuite Pro to add a chart to a spreadsheet that QuickOffice created (below).


(click images to enlarge)


Kingsoft Office

This Office-style app is currently free in Google's Android Market. Like the paid office suites above, Kingsoft Office is useful for creating and editing MS Office-compatible text, spreadsheet, and presentation documents. One unfortunate drawback is that its top-of-screen menu fonts and widgets are small and lack contrast, making the app somewhat tedious to use, at least initially. Still, the app does offer extensive text document-editing capabilities, plus the ability to create spreadsheets and presentations, all at a price that's hard to resist.


(click images to enlarge)


Google Drive

In addition to providing Dropbox-like cloud storage and sharing services, the free Google Drive app lets you view and edit text and spreadsheet Google Documents on the Nexus 7.


(click images to enlarge)


LogMeIn

This useful mobile productivity app, currently priced at $25 in Google's Android Market, lets you access remote Windows or Mac desktops and even run desktop programs remotely. The screenshots below show the Nexus 7 being used to create an Open Office spreadsheet and browse the Web in Firefox on a remote Windows 7 desktop.


(click images to enlarge)


SketchBook Mobile

Autodesk's free SketchBook Mobile app is a nifty painting and drawing tool. Using it, you can create mixed text/graphics images that can be embedded in presentations and other documents.


(click images to enlarge)

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