San Francisco -- Early this year, CloudOn rolled out its iPad app allowing you to access and use Microsoft Office documents directly on your iPad, saving those documents to DropBox. On Tuesday, the company moved a step further with its fresh update, releasing CloudOn's free MS Office app for the iPad, which now includes support for Adobe Reader as well as the ability to also store and access files on Box.
Primarily formulated as a tablet-friendly version of Microsoft Office, and identical to OnLive Desktop, which recently made changes to comply with Microsoft's Windows licensing model, and on the similar lines CloudOn includes full-featured mobile editions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. You can create new documents, edit existing ones, and store your files online for easy access.
CloudOn updates its cloud-based Office suite with some killer features...
Besides, the popularity of the application is unbelievable, barely a day after its January 5 debut, CloudOn became the number one app in the iTunes App Store, claims CloudOn CEO Milind Gadekar. That is not surprising: It was the first app to let you run virtualized versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on the iPad, it was free and it still is.
However, since CloudOn is paying software-as-a-service licensing fees to Microsoft, it also needs to generate some revenue somehow, so do not expect the free ride to last forever!
Interestingly, CloudOn easily allows you to access all of the Microsoft Office's features, including the ability to track changes in Word documents, pivot tables in Excel, or view PowerPoint presentations in full presentation mode. You can also utilize the app to display, edit or create charts, insert formulas, change formatting, spell check, or insert comments into any Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document. With the latest update, documents you work with in CloudOn can also now be emailed to others as attachments without ever leaving the app.
Unlike OnLive, however, CloudOn does not presents a virtual Windows desktop and the company also does not provide its own cloud storage for user documents, rather, CloudOn consolidates with Box and Dropbox to provide document storage and sharing.
For instance, documents you are working on are saved and synced from DropBox or now, Box. In addition, the program of the company's iPad app provides a simple launcher and file browser. So, as soon as one of the Office apps (or the newly added Adobe Reader app and File Viewer) is launched a virtual instance of that app is provided from the CloudOn servers. Also, if you currently have a Box or Dropbox account you can log in directly from the all, and open, edit, share, or auto save documents.
Moreover, this update, also extends support for Adobe Reader, something that was not available in the initial release of the app. The app can read everything from simple forms to complex 3-D documents, and users have access to a universal viewer for any file, ranging from raw Photoshop images to everyday image files, including: PNG, JPEG and GIF.
“We are seeing a huge departure from the Windows world that corporate America and users have lived in for the past 20 years,” Gadekar, explained to Mashable. He mentions that one of the main challenges in creating the app was taking programs that were developed for a mouse-based interface and making them really useful in a gesture-based environment.
“If I'm on an iPad I should not have to connect to a Windows machine. I should be able to get an iPad experience,” says Gadekar. CloudOn offers gesture-based controls that make Microsoft Office and Adobe reader feel like they are native applications on your iPad.
In many instances, working in an Office app with only your fingertips is not as easy at it appear. CloudOn, however, simplified the process and has rearranged some of the buttons on Offices' Ribbon interfaces to make them operate more smoothly on touchscreens. For example, the basic text-formatting buttons are much more spread out in the CloudOn version to accommodate fingertips rather than mouse pointers. In the tests on an iPad, the apps were quite responsive; CloudOn says that it can run smoothly on connections of only a couple hundred kilobits per second.