CloudOn, a Palo Alto-based start-up, made waves earlier this week when it released its first app in the App Store, bringing Microsoft Office to the iPad via a cloud-hosted solution. Demand was so great that the company’s servers were overwhelmed, causing CloudOn to remove the app from the App Store. However, CloudOn is now back in the App Store and open for registration to new users again.
CloudOn links directly to your Dropbox account, a required element to even use the app. (Dropbox accounts with 2GB of storage are free.) Once connected, you can access existing documents in your Dropbox account and edit them using Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. You can also create new documents in any of these applications, which will also be saved to your Dropbox account.
CloudOn’s WorkSpace allows you to:
- Use Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint on your iPad to create or edit documents.
- Rename, delete and manage documents with your Dropbox account
- Display, edit or create charts, change formatting, spell check, insert comments, into any Word, Excel or PowerPoint files
- Track changes while reviewing Word documents
- Use pivot tables and insert formulas in Excel workbooks-Display and edit animation or transitions in PowerPoint presentations
- Present in full PowerPoint mode (not in PDF)
- Open files directly from your iPad email accounts or Dropbox account
- Automatically save documents to avoid losing changes
As you can guess from the app’s name, CloudOn isn’t really putting Microsoft Office 2010 on your iPad but provides a way to use the applications on their servers. Since Microsoft Office is not a free suite of applications, this may sound too good to be true, particularly since CloudOn is also free. However, CloudOn’s blog indicates that this will change in the future when the company defines “a pricing model that is win-win for all.”
If you want an app that can create and edit Microsoft Office documents without requiring an internet connection, there are several alternatives in the App Store including QuickOffice Pro, Office² (and Office² HD for the iPad), and my Microsoft Office weapon of choice on my iPhone and iPad, Documents to Go.