Is mobile office good enough?

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I’m typing this on S10+ using an Apple keyboard. The thought came to me that the smart phone with mouse and keyboard might be just enough with Microsoft Office apps? I remember that fellow from Blackberry saying we only need tablets until phone screen get big enough to replace them. Are we facing something similar for the mobile office?

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10 responses to “Is mobile office good enough?”

  1. Avatar

    Paul Thurrott

    Sure. Mobile and web-based Office apps are probably fine for most. There are weird little missing features in each, and of course power users (Excel, especially, but probably of all apps) will run into those more quickly than most.

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    wunderbar

    The web and iOS/Android apps are more than good enough for the majority of what the majority of people actually need. I'm not sure I'd want to type 3000 words on a phone screen, even with a proper keyboard, but the apps themselves serve my need for personal use.

  3. Avatar

    hrlngrv

    Mobile PowerPoint probably has more features than most presentation creators should try to use.

    That said, I've only tried Excel Mobile, and if spreadsheet web apps are all one needs, Excel Mobile would be sufficient. However, anyone needing VBA and/or add-ins would find Excel Mobile quite lacking.

    So, as always, it depends on what one needs/wants to do.

  4. Avatar

    wright_is

    When I can connect multiple 24" or 34" displays and the mobile office can access the files on my network shares, maybe...

    In their current form (only cloud files) and phones only having small displays, not for me.

    Similarly, Outlook Mobile is too underfeatured for serious use as a desktop replacement.

    The lack of VBA and add-ins is also a serious problem.

  5. Avatar

    minke

    It depends on what you need, but for many consumers it is probably plenty. For most business users it won't be enough. Even if you just use the online apps I personally think you will find that an actual laptop is the way to go since it is far easier to carry and use than the mess of a portable keyboard, mouse, assorted cables, chargers, and other nonsense--and trying to handle all but the simplest document on a tiny smartphone screen is difficult.

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    gregsedwards

    It's an interesting question, and one that I've struggled with for years. In principle, yes. In practical terms, not really, no. For better or worse, there's always going to be that one must-have feature that doesn't exist or work the same way on the mobile version, and that's going to be a deal breaker for a significant percentage of the user base.

    That said, I think Microsoft is doing a good(ish) job in transitioning Office to a web/mobile-first experience. On those occasions when I've needed to open/edit a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file on my iPhone, it works well enough...once you figure out how the miniaturized version of the ribbon works, that is. As a technical writer, I wouldn't want to work on it every day...not for a million dollars.

    I think it speaks to how many of us have contorted our Office (and really all PC technology) experience. We're creatures of habit. We get used to setting up our documents in specific ways, and then it becomes immediately apparent when that feature set is different or lacking, even if there's a perfectly equivalent way to do the same task on a different platform.

    I was really encouraged by the direction I saw Microsoft heading with Office in the past couple of years. They had announced that OneNote was going all UWP, and I assumed that would happen with the other apps in due time. Currently, there's a bit of a feature gap between OneNote 2016 (the apparent "last" desktop version of OneNote) and its modern UWP counterpart, but I've become less reliant on the former version.

    Unfortunately, the same hasn't happened with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Those UWP apps are fine, but aside from new icons, they haven't really worked to close the feature gap in the past year, and now it doesn't seem the classic Win32 versions are going away anytime soon. So all we have is a disjointed mess where some Office products are Win32, while others are UWP/modern/store, and there are basically two versions of virtually every Office app that can be installed side-by-side on the same PC.

    Outlook is kind of its own mess. The Win10 Mail/Calendar/People apps are pretty decent (I actually prefer to work in them instead of desktop Outlook), but they don't feel like Outlook, either from a UI or a branding perspective. There's minimal integrated functionality with Skype for Business for scheduling online meetings, but not much else. They're not even branded as Outlook. It feels more like using your mobile device's native platform mail/calendar clients to connect to your email.

    In general, I think this is where Microsoft has and will continue to struggle against competitors like Google's G-suite. Those platforms don't have the legacy desktop apps and feature set to match. And so even if they're not as functional as their Office counterparts, they do have the advantage of looking and feeling like they were designed with a unified purpose, and they take full advantage of the mobile/web platforms on which they run.

  7. Avatar

    jimchamplin

    For the majority of people the majority of the time, yes. It’s all they’re ever going to need.


    I have younger co-workers who are in college and high school and they do all of their work on their phones. In a handful of years those people will be using those skills to get done the things that older people insist requires a giant PC that covers an entire desk.


    And the bosses are going to love that. “Hey, Chuck. Why do you need a $5k setup when Hawker can do it all on her iPhone? Chuck? Chuck are you okay!?”

  8. Avatar

    Vladimir Carli

    There are people who use expensive laptops to access facebook only, but that is not really the point. I would like to challenge anyone to handle (write and format) a 30 pages document on a smartphone. In the environment where i work thousands of people handle documents of at least that size. Computers are not going to be replaced by smartphones anytime soon.

  9. Avatar

    Lordbaal

    For 99% of the people, mobile office is enough.

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