SoftMaker to Develop Office for Android

SoftMaker is developing a version of its SoftMaker Office suite for Android devices, which will deliver a full-featured word processor, spreadsheet and presentations tool for Android-based smartphones and tablet devices.

Office for Android was disclosed in a newsletter to SoftMaker customers, and the company has provided more information on its development in a blog post.

The software is still in the early stages, but is expected to offer similar capabilities to SoftMaker Office on other platforms, including a high level of compatibility with Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, plus features and functionality closer to a desktop suite than other mobile tools.

"For the first time, a fully compatible office suite will be available for Android that supports change tracking, correctly displays all AutoShapes and images, displays comments like Microsoft Word, and faithfully renders all Microsoft Excel charts," the company said.

SoftMaker chief executive Martin Kotulla further told that the company has ported the full SoftMaker Office to Android, and added a native Android user interface. This means that all the features of Microsoft Office documents are visible and preserved.

However, not all of the features and functions of the desktop build will be supported because of display limitations.

"But we will definitely support the ones needed for typical business documents, such as tracked changes, comments, outlining, tables etc," Kotulla explained.

SoftMaker already ships versions of SoftMaker Office for Windows, Linux and mobile devices running Windows Mobile and CE.

However, Android is likely to present a larger opportunity for the company, given the growing number of Android-based devices and their popularity.

Each SoftMaker suite consists of the TextMaker word processor, PlanMaker spreadsheet and SoftMaker Presentations. In addition to Microsoft formats, these also support the ODF file formats and can export to PDF.

The company remains tight-lipped on a release date for the Android version, but said that a public beta test build will be offered at some point in the future.

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