Thursday, March 12, 2009
Documents To Go for BlackBerry Review
DataViz has recently released Documents To Go Premium Edition for BlackBerry (link), version 1.006. I have been working with Documents To Go on my BlackBerry Curve 8330 for about a month now. Documents To Go is my "gotta have it" application for all of my mobile devices and my expectations for the new BlackBerry edition where going to be high.
Most new BlackBerry smartphones will come with Documents To Go Professional preinstalled. Existing BlackBerry customers must be running BlackBerry OS 4.5 or later before they can install and use the software. Sprint customers will have the Professional Edition installed on their Berry when they upgrade to BlackBerry OS 4.5 or later. If you are not sure what version of the BlackBerry OS your device has, please consult your owner’s manual or contact your wireless carrier for assistance. DataViz has posted an article on their blog to help customers download BlackBerry OS updates if they need them.
As with all of the other editions of Documents To Go, you can read, create, and modify Microsoft Office documents created with versions 97-2008 on the Windows or Mac OS X platforms. A list of key features for Documents To Go for BlackBerry can be found on the DataViz website.
If you have used Documents To Go before, say on a Palm OS Centro, you will find yourself at home with the BlackBerry edition.
Word To Go, the application that I use the most in the suite, has a clean interface that allows you to focus on the open document. Pressing the BlackBerry button will conjure up a menu of commands, including one for the online Help system. DataViz’s InTact Technology ensures that your document’s formatting remains the same on your desktop computer after it has been modified on the BlackBerry. Another great feature of Documents To Go for BlackBerry is the ability to email your current document. After selecting “Send via Email” from the application’s pop-up menu, you are presented with a standard email compose screen with your document already included as the attachment. This is a great time saving feature if you email Office documents to customers or coworkers frequently.
DataViz has also done a great job tuning the PDF To Go application. PDF To Go has received a considerable speed boost with this release. My BlackBerry Curve 8330 was able to open my sample PDF file twice as fast when compared to my Palm Treo 750 and 755p. The Curve took 15 seconds to open and render my 6 page document. The same document took 30 seconds on the Treo. If you press the scroll wheel while reading a PDF document, a contextual menu pops open and gives you access to the Zoom, Next, and Previous page commands. If you are reading the document from the top of the page to the bottom, this may not seem like a bid deal. However, when you need to skim though the document, the BlackBerry interface for next page/previous page is nicer than on other platforms.
Slideshow To Go and Sheets To Go also performed well with my sample documents. A 25 page PowerPoint 2007 presentation rendered the way that I expected. Interestingly, the yellow slide title text appeared as black; which to me is only a minor issue. (This may have been an operator error as I’ve only had Office 2007 for about three weeks.) Changing to a new slide and zooming in and out on a slide was fast. Once you have zoomed in on a slide, you use the trackball to scroll around. Slider sorter is a new feature that people who use PowerPoint often will appreciate.
In my tests, Sheets To Go did a good job of handling my parts lists and inventory sample spreadsheets. It did have some trouble with a spreadsheet that was setup as a form. In my test file, I had a number of cells with word wrap turned on in Excel that did not wrap in Sheets To Go. This could be a problem if you are using spreadsheet-based forms on your mobile. When you bring the file back to the desktop computer, the original document formatting is maintained, thanks to the InTact engine.
Customers who are migrating from the Palm OS platform should be aware that the BlackBerry edition of Documents To Go does not have a desktop application for synchronizing documents. If you want to transfer files between your BlackBerry’s storage card and your desktop computer, you will need to use the phone’s drive mode and copy files to and from the card.
In conclusion, DataViz has hit another home run with their new version of Documents To Go for the BlackBerry. The InTact Technology does a superb job of keeping the look and feel of the original document after it has been modified on the mobile device. The application navigation is easy to learn and use. DataViz’s Documents To Go will turn your smartphone into a powerful, work from anywhere solution. Berry addicts are going to gain a lot of utility from this must have application.
Documents To Go Premium Edition for BlackBerry can be purchased for $69.99. Upgrades from a previous edition of Documents To Go costs $29.99. For more information about the Documents To Go family of products, visit the DataViz website.