Comments on: iambic Releases Office Suite

iambic Software has released iambic Office, a suite of software that includes TinySheet, FastWriter, and iambic Mail. With their combined strength, users can transfer Web pages, text files, Palm Doc files, Microsoft Word documents, Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and more onto a palmtop. It even allows users to download and view e-mail attachments. It is available now for $40.
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Who is going to win this battle?

I.M. Anonymous @ 10/3/2001 4:01:21 PM #
OK, who do you think is going to survive the struggle between iambic's Office, CES Inc's QuickOffice, Dataviz's Docs to Go, and BlueNomad's WordSmith? I've used WordSmith for a while now and really enjoy it. I've owned QuickOffice for a while as well, but haven't used it, that is until I just downloaded version 5.6. Docs to Go came with my 505, but I've never used it (too slow, etc.). Any thoughts? Any other contenders?

JBH

RE: Who is going to win this battle?
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/3/2001 4:24:12 PM #
And on top of this all I heard a rumor that BlueNomad is working on a spreadsheet app, no doubts to compete with the rest.

RE: Who is going to win this battle?
ardiri @ 10/3/2001 4:39:57 PM #
hate to say this, but, dataviz already has won. palm provides their office suite with every new palm m125, m500 and m505 sold :) the others are just accessories now.

// az
aaron@ardiri.com
http://www.ardiri.com/
RE: Who is going to win this battle?
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/3/2001 5:22:12 PM #
I think the LOSER is Joe Schmo consumer. We've got some great products to choose from, but if Palm squeezes out the choices by giving everyone Documents to Go, then there will be not enough market for these other products and no incentive to improve the goods.

On the one hand it's nice to buy a device with the suite already on there, but what if I hate that software? Then I still have to go out and buy a better one.

I like Quickoffice and WordSmith (anxious to learn more about this new spreadsheet). Haven't tried Iambic's new suite yet, but might take 'er for a test drive. I've heard good things about TinySheet (but don't really have much reason to switch from Quicksheet).

I don't understand Palm's fascination with Documents to Go. Like someone mentioned, it's slow. And it's certainly not the most functional on either the spreadsheet or word processing side. They must have just gotten a primo deal from DataViz.

That's my two cents.

RE: Who is going to win this battle?
tychay @ 10/3/2001 5:45:40 PM #
The DocumentsToGo that came with the Palm m505 was not the latest version (which hadn't come out at the time), with no upgrade path (at the time). It looks like DataViz is going two ways with it, the "standard" which they'll bundle and the "professional" which includes Powerpoint and e-mail attachment support (PC only).

I'll imagine they'll continue this since the amount of money they're making/copy on bundling must be very small. This means that they'll still be competition in the higher end. (Much like most of the Mac world has Appleworks but still buys Office, Microsoft used to have a "Works" program that was a poor parody of Office in the PC world).

I think two factors influenced what Palm bundles with the m505. the first was Macintosh support (Note that all the applications had a Macintosh conduit even if it was less powered than the PC) and the second was SD support. I'd imagine that any company which has a software package that supports both might be able to get a bundling agreement with Palm or Handspring, though the revenue would be pretty small.

And who knows, maybe in the future lower end models might come bundled with more/less/different applications than higher end ones.

In the end, I think that bundling hasn't had as much a negative impact on competition (yet). Considering how quickly all these products have improved in the last year. After all, we could all be using PocketPC's, and then what choice would you have? You'd be depending on the entire Palm platform to give Microsoft enough competition to improve their product then, because history shows little improvement once they've wiped or bought the competition out (anyone want an old copy of Stacker?).

Take care,
terry

--
terry chay http://org.qixo.com/tychay/m505dis/

http://www.qixo.com Righteous Travel Deals in Record Time

san jose, ca, usa

RE: Who is going to win this battle?
kevdo @ 10/3/2001 6:06:54 PM #
>I think the LOSER is Joe Schmo consumer. We''ve got
>some great products to choose from, but if Palm
>squeezes out the choices by giving everyone
>Documents to Go

It is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL for Palms to have software which can read/write Word and Excel files to compete with PocketPC!

Palm should be applauded for including this software on their latest releases. Now, Handspring is following suit.

If you don''t like Docs to Go why complain about the bundle - just buy your preferred application. Meanwhile, many who might have gone to PocketPC will have stayed with Palm OS!! THAT is a good thing.

RE: Who is going to win this battle?
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/3/2001 6:08:24 PM #
I wish Palm did their own suite, because we all know they can still do neat software...

RE: Who is going to win this battle?
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/4/2001 1:06:42 AM #
Interesting question. I am doing a review on these office suites, including ThinkOffice. And TinySheet 4.0 wins the champ title, followed by...ThinkSheet. Surprise! Then comes QuickSheet; DocsToGo is the last.

I bought QuickOffice from its early days, and to be honest, I haven''t used it that much. And I''m not all happy with its new release at all. QuickWord 5.6 is buggy(try uncheck "Show Bar"); it also has performance slowdown sometimes. And QuickSheet didn''t change much; QuickChart is still the same. Argh!

On ThinkingyBytes'' ThinkOffice, ThinkWord(37kb) is a crappy doc editor. It only feeds on .txt files, and is really really really slow. Not worth the try.

But I think ThinkSheet is very well implemented with many preferences. A feature that others dont have is the ability to hide headers(columns and rows); this gives a larger view.

TinyChart is also #1; QuickChart and ThinkChart are both #2.

On the doc editor aspect, WordSmith is probably still #1, but I hate it, because it eats memory to open a doc. And WS file size is like 450+kb. QuickWord is only 226kb.

So, I guess TinySheet+WordSmith are the way to go at the moment in time.


RE: Who is going to win this battle?
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/4/2001 1:45:30 PM #
Documents to go provides the only "perfect syncronization"

It is the only one in which Word documents don''t lose tables of content. Also Excel sheets don''t lose their formatting or graphics like in Quick Office and Tiny Sheet.

I just wich it were more functional on the handheld side, the interface needs more functions and the purple spreadsheed looks horrible. Also it needs speed.

RE: Who is going to win this battle?
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/4/2001 2:40:22 PM #
I like the fact that Docs To Go supports VFS seemlessly. This is a tremendous advantage with several large databases being able to be stored on the card and accessed easily.

RE: Who is going to win this battle?
Ronin @ 10/4/2001 4:28:56 PM #
I thought I would chime in and add my 2 cents about Documents to Go.

I get a great deal of use out of the program and out of the document editors to for the Palm that I have tried it suits my needs the best. It is fast, it certainly opens documents faster than WordSmith even when the document and the application are both on the SD card.

The program supports tables and does not cause havoc with the original document once edited. During the period that I was evaluating WordSmith I was driven to distraction by the additional copies of documents it created whenever I edited the original document. Wordsmith is certainly feature rich and is probably an excellent choice if you are going to be creating complex documents on the Palm. However, the overhead is not worth it if you are creating a simple report.

Also the desktop side of DocsToGo is excellent, you can obtain all relevant information on a file before and after a sync including the ability to rename the file to something more friendly to the Palm screen without changing the desktop name. Although I have had some problems synchronizing, overall the execution of the desktop side of the application is excellent.

Leave us not forget that the SD support of DocsToGo is complete and is pretty much al anyone could ask for. The program allows you to install documents directly to the card, edit documents on the card. It also allows you to store the actual programs on the card as well leaving only the shell program on the palm itself. Further, the loading and unloading of files from the card is fast and trouble free. The only deficit in the card support of the program is that you lose your ability to categorize documents that are stored on the card. Hopefully this will be cured in a future update.

As to the spreadsheet application, my use (admittedly limited) has not revealed it to be, as of DocsToGo 4, significantly less formidable then any of its competitors. And the card support is the same as the rest of the program.

I also note that DocsToGo is the only choice for a Palm office suite if you do not use Microsoft Suite on the desktop to the exclusion of all others. I know that WordSmith supports RTF but that is not the equivalent of supporting WordPerfect or Lotus natively.

Finally, I think that DocsToGo is an extremely useful program and an excellent choice as the bundle program by Palm because it covers all the bases, gets the job done and has a good feature set. Palm needed to bundle an office suite to respond to the similar functionality of the PPC as this was an efficient way of doing it.

BTW, I don't think that Palm's bundle this program eliminates the need for other office suites. Diversity and competition are good. The option to purchase a different suite with a different UI or features that better suit your needs has always been able to drive a product market segment. The Palm software market has thrived on improving the 'built-in' apps. For example, DateBK4 and ActionNames are two of the most popular Palm applications despite the fact that there is a calendar program built-in to each Palm sold.

RE: Who is going to win this battle?
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/8/2001 6:00:18 AM #
Re: Documents to go provides the only "perfect syncronization"

No, look at tinysheet, it also silently keeps unsupported formatting (try rotating a cell!)...
Dataviz makes a lot of noise about this common but trademarked "only-specially-own-and-unique-technology". Is this pure marketting ?!!

attachments

I.M. Anonymous @ 10/3/2001 5:23:34 PM #
does that mean I can read attachments created on ANY platform? I mean, someone sends me a word .doc file in a mail, will I be able to read it? And what about a pocketword file?
That should have been told in the news... maybe when we get a full review, Ed?

RE: attachments
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/3/2001 8:02:15 PM #
You know what is awesome?! Using Wordsmith 2, along with TinySheet. This makes an awesome office. I am still looking for a good PowerPoint program. Any recommendations? Thanks. I think it is best if you build your own suite. Try out software, see which is best, and buy it. Because I sure as hell know that DocsToGo (4) is horrible. Little custimization. Yea, SheetToGo FINALLY has 30 functions! Wow! Awesome! Yay! It is crap, go for TinySheet and Wordsmith. MUCH better.

RE: attachments
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/3/2001 9:13:04 PM #
Agreed, except that the Minicalc/Wordsmith combo is slightly better.

RE: attachments
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/3/2001 9:23:45 PM #
I don''t understand what everyone is complaining about with respect to Docs To Go. The latest version has way more than 30 functions in Sheet To Go, it has over 100, plus it opens spreadsheets much faster than any other spreadsheet AND makes the files smaller.

DataViz has had email attachment support for like a year and it works great.

And you''re looking for PowerPoint support, they have that too, as well as PDF support - both of which come through as attachments. Nobody else does that.

For me, DTG does everything I need it to do. I mostly reference docs on my palm, I don''t spend a lot of time creating docs on it - and I would think most people are in that boat.

But something no one mentions here is the way DTG updates documents if you DO make a change. It doesn''t screw up your original document like all the other office apps out there - even WordSmith which everyone who posts here seems to love has problems with that.

I got rid of that product the first time it wiped out critical parts of my formatting because I made a simple change to the file. I could care less about all it''s bells and whistles. Has anyone actually tried DataViz''s DocSync stuff?

Am I the only one who feels this way? Help me understand where DTG fails and others excel in this area...

RE: attachments
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/4/2001 8:51:10 AM #
I agree. All of the other applications delete the formatting from your original desktop document. In the business world, you need to be sure that corporate logos, graphics etc are maintained in the documents. Try syncing a Word Doc with high level formatting and graphics to the handheld, make some changes on the handheld and save them. Do a hotsync. The changes make it to the original document, but the high level formatting and graphics have beed DELETED with the other products. Documents To Go is engineered to keep all of this formatting intact and it works. It is this feature that will make DTG stand out in the business world.

RE: attachments
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/4/2001 9:37:58 AM #
The thing that gets me about Dataviz is that they want money on a regular basis to keep your software current. I''ve owned Conversions Plus in the past, and they typically wanted a substantial upgrade fee each year. It seems like that same business model is being used with Docs to Go. Personally, I''m not buying into that deal again. WordSmith works fine, and the upgrade to version 2.0 was free. Also, I just upgraded my QuickOffice for free. I like free -- A LOT!

JBH

wow...ThinkOffice...bogus?

I.M. Anonymous @ 10/4/2001 2:29:34 AM #
I have ThinkOffice installed for trial for several days now, and just now I installed iambic''s MiniCalc, then I discovered something very interesting.

MiniCalc and ThinkSheet (also MiniChart and ThinkChart) are exactly the same product!

When I finished installed MiniCalc, I noticed that MiniCalc''s desktop icon is just the that of ThinkSheet.
Then, before launching MiniCalc on my Palm, I noticed that the ThinkSheet icon was nowhere to be found. Odd.
Then I launched MiniCalc....and guess what. It is JUST LIKE ThinkSheet (or should I say ThinkSheet is just like MiniCalc!) Apparently, MiniCalc replaces ThinkSheet, and they have everything exactly the same.

MiniChart doesn''t replace ThinkChart, but when you view the "About" in ThinkChart, you''ll get a message displaying "MiniChart v6.4." Even their desktop sync managers are identical.

Both products also have "Solution In Hand" in their About info.

What''s going on there?


RE: wow...ThinkOffice...bogus?
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/4/2001 6:29:25 AM #
I can''t believe it took you so long to figure that one out. I could tell without installing either. How else do you think the "Think" guys could come up with a fully blown office suite in months when it took CES and DataViz 3 years to achieve.

iambic bought MegaDoc and tweaked the code to get a word processor and make an office suite and then they sold off the rebranding to make thinkOffice.

AFAIK - Quickoffice and DocsToGo are the only home grown apps. Actually scrub tha,DataViz paid third party developers to do their app somewhere along the way...

RE: wow...ThinkOffice...bogus?
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/8/2001 6:10:16 AM #
Yes, it looks like thinkoffice provides minicalc, renamed as thinkcalc. But it definitely has nothing to do with tinysheet (iambic has its own office)!

Documents To Go 4

lorenzszabo @ 10/4/2001 12:33:05 PM #
I''m using DTG on my Palm/Mac since version 2.0 and most of the time it does what it should ... Speed and Stowaway support is excellent.

The real problems are:

* Macintosh users pay with upgrades for features they don''t get (e.g. PowerPoint support)

* The DTG database screws up, everytime I upgrade to a newer version.

* The DTG database has problems when the harddisk was mounted under MacOS X before.

* Syncing doesn''t always work.

RE: Documents To Go 4
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/8/2001 6:16:38 AM #
Has anyone actually tested the "powerpoint" support?
It just looks like a dumb screencopy slideshow to me!!
What about photoshop support, then, eh?! ;)


RE: Documents To Go 4
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/26/2001 5:45:07 PM #
The Powerpoint in DTG is stupid. is ok with some images but with letters or it is to small or too big. also The recalculation is a bit slower thant tinysheet. everything else is good.

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