When it comes to office software, the undeniable leader is Microsoft Office, earning an annual $13.8 billion in this software alone. However, despite the software’s popularity, Microsoft has not made any significant headway in making the Office available on mobile devices. Ironically, what people originally believe to be Microsoft Office in their Android phones is not really an application of this mega-corporation, but a pioneering software developed by a small South Korean company called Infraware Inc. This upstart software is known as Polaris Office.
Polaris Office is an office suite that is specifically designed for Android phones. Its latest version, Polaris Office 4.0, was even given the Editors’ Choice Award by PCMag. Such an award is certainly well-earned.
Polaris is very easy to use because of its large, viewable menus, easy to read text, and convenient navigability, even on small mobile devices. The application presently supports .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt, .pptx, .txt, and even reads and exports PDF files. Because of the tabbed screen, it is very easy to find the options that you need, ranging from changing font and text styles to basic editing. Changes can be made by simple swipes with your finger, or by using touch controls and dial sliders.
Another plus for Polaris is its consistency. For example, one can create colored cells using the same toolbar options on both the text documents and spreadsheet platforms. It is also very easy to make PowerPoint presentations with the app with the use of slide elements which can be activated by just swiping or double tapping them with a finger. You can easily connect your phone to a computer or projector in order to show off the presentation. In addition, even with an ongoing PowerPoint presentation, you can make changes to the various slides, write notes, or even highlight specific text using a faux laser pointer.
Polaris is a favorite among users with disabilities. The reason for this is that it comes with a great feature wherein highlighted text can be read back by a voice using the text-to-speech (TTS) option. Such an option is very useful for those with visual impairments and hearing problems.
While there are some drawbacks to Polaris, among them its limited editing features, its inability to be installed in certain Samsung Galaxy Note models and that it can only be used with Samsung printers, many users have found the app to be very useful when it comes to preparing simple text documents, spreadsheets, and visual presentations.
Seeing stiff competition in this little upstart from South Korea, Microsoft is getting ready to launch its mobile office suite, Office 365, for iPhone and Android. However, Infraware is certainly pushing the office software wars to a much higher level by offering Polaris Office for free. According to Chief Executive Kwak Min-cheol, their strategy is by adding cloud-based services and making Polaris high accessible over several mobile devices, and then offering the software for free.
With so many Android users who are already adept at using Polaris, plus the fact that the application itself is free, Microsoft’s Office 365 is sure to face a daunting competitor in the office software wars.
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