Saturday, June 28, 2008

BlackBerry users still await update for MS Office doc creation

BlackBerry users worldwide will one day be able to use DataViz' Documents to Go to create Microsoft Office files on their phones. Yet so far, only a couple of ISPs have provided their customers with this update to BlackBerry services.

NEW YORK CITY (BetaNews) -- At this week's Digital Experience show in New York City, DataViz gave demos of Documents to Go, its software suite for creating, viewing and editing Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel files and attachments on smartphones.

Available on Palm OS handhelds ever since 1999, Documents to Go is now embedded into the latest edition of the BlackBerry operating system -- BlackBerry Device Software v4.5, whose rollout is ongoing this month -- and it's also slated to be included in future editions of the OS.

At this point, though, most BlackBerry customers can't yet use Documents To Go, said Jenn Figueroa, a DataViz spokesperson, speaking with BetaNews at the Pepcom-sponsored press event. That's because only two ISPs -- located in Canada and Europe -- have made the functionality available to users through software downloads, she said.

Documents to Go enables native access to Office documents, without file conversation, according to Figueroa. Users can view and edit files received through e-mail, Bluetooth wireless transmissions, and other methods.

On the BlackBerry side, the software has been integrated with BlackBerry Enterprise Server for support of e-mail attachments.

Announced in January, BlackBerry Device Software v4.5 also includes BlackBerry Web Desktop Manager, a feature that allows users to install and manage their BlackBerry smartphones from Web browsers instead of through BlackBerry desktop software. Web Desktop Manager, however, is available for separate download from this link.

A quick search by BetaNews of online forums this morning turned up a number of questions from BlackBerry users about the availability of BlackBerry Device Software v4.5 and Documents to Go from ISPs, though with no real answers. On some boards, Verizon Wireless was rumored to be planning an OS update for customers in July.

Meanwhile, Quickoffice and its recent acquisition DynoPlex last month announced a competing solution also designed to let BlackBerry users create, view and edit MS documents in their original formats.

Supporting Word, Excel, and SharePoint, the companies' new BlackBerry edition of eOffice is designed to work on all currently shipping BlackBerry devices connected both through BlackBerry Enterprise Server and an ISP-hosted BlackBerry Internet Service.

In earlier BetaNews tests, we discovered eOffice requires no upgrades to either the enterprise server or BlackBerry device OS.

DataViz, however, isn't limiting itself to the BlackBerry and Palm OS. The Documents To Go product line also includes support for Windows Mobile, Mobilinux, and Symbian OS-based UIQ and S80 smartphones.

All editions of the software use DavaViz's InTact technology, which is aimed at preserving document integrity, according to Figueroa.

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