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Quickoffice Version 3 for UIQ - Part 2 Print E-mail
Written by Richard Bloor   
Friday, 21 January 2005
In the second part of our exclusive Quickoffice review we conclude by looking at Quickpoint and how, with the iGo Pitch Duo, it make the ideal light weight presentation tool.

See part 1 of this review on Quickword and QuickSheet here.

While Quicksheet may have changed little there have been significant changes in Quickpoint. It now has the option to edit presentations and interfaces with Mobility Electronics iGo Pitch Duo portable datashow interface.

Quickpoint provides three views; slide outline, the default view that shows the presentations text elements; slide notes and the slide. The active view is switched using the first three buttons on the toolbar or menu options. Each view has the option to expanded to use the whole screen, although the toolbar remains visible on all these views.

The outline view opens showing slide headings only. Expand and collapse options, to show or hide the detail, are available from the toolbar, jogdial, and menu. A curious omission is the ability to navigated with the stylus, but this is hardly a big issue. There is a zoom function on the menu to select small, medium or large display fonts.

In the Notes view the expand and collapse toolbar items are hidden and display font zoom accessible from the menu. It is worth noting that the zoom affects the Outline and Notes views independently.

In the Slide view there is no zoom feature until the whole screen option is activated. Slides can be displayed at a scale of 1:1 down to where the slide fits to the screen. The slide can be moved vertically with the jogdial or in any direction using the stylus.

There are two final options on the toolbar, active in all screens, that allow navigation up or down between the pages. The only other significant option in view mode is Save As, interestingly there is no Find feature.

Editing is the big new feature in Quickpoint for UIQ. Slide heading, body and notes can be altered but editing of images and other content is not yet supported.

In the slide outline the available edit options are; changing and deleting "entries" (but there is no "entries" insert option) and the insertion of new slides either before or after the current one.

Editing the outline uses the slide's PowerPoint objects. So a slide title and its body are in separate objects. As a result the slide's title and body are a separate, uniquely edited entries. In the edit window each line's font, font style (bold, italics, underline, text color) and paragraph format (bullets, indentations and alignment) can be modified. All these format options are available from the edit screen toolbar, there is no menu.

There appear to be a couple of foibles with the presentation and editing of bullet lists in the outline. In our sample presentations the bullets and indents sometime failed to show, however they were correctly displayed in the slides. In addition text formatted using installed true type fonts still used substitute fonts in the first instance. Once formatted in Quickpoint the correct fonts were displayed. In the illustration below all text is in Arial Narrow, but only the text formatted in Arial Narrow using Quickpoint displays in the true type font.

Both issue seem to be limited to the display and do not affect the fidelity of the presentation, as the slide view still showed the correct bullets and fonts.

When a new slide is created the heading is opened for editing. The content is then added by selecting the "default body" item in the outline.

It should be clear by now that Quickpoint has a limitation in dealing with slide content. It can only edit thee two main text areas in a slide. In the illustration below the text title on the image (that contains an error) is in a third text object, is not visible in the outline and can not be edited.

In most cases this limitation is unlikely to be significant but is worth considering when creating a new slideshow you expect to use in QuickPoint.

Editing notes is more straightforward, given there is only one note per slide. Notes use the same edit screen and have the same formatting options as the outline entries. However be warned that if there are no notes in the presentation it is not possible to add them.

Having a presentation on your phone is all very well, being able to make small changes great, but a presentation really only comes into its own when presented. Here is where the iGo Pitch Duo, from Mobility Electronics, comes in handy. Only a little larger than a P900, with the supplied Bluetooth dongle, Pitch Duo is simply and easily connected to a datashow and Quickpoint.

Using Pitch Duo it is simply a case of selecting the Start Pitch option from the Quickpoint menu. This initiates a search for the Bluetooth connection, remember to switch on Bluetooth first. When Pitch Duo is located and then selected the presentation's first two slides are loaded and the first displayed.

The next slide is displayed by moving through the presentation with either the jogdial or toolbar functions. As each slide is displayed the next is automatically loaded, which helps minimize the transition delay between slides. Any view can be active as the presentation is made, an obvious choice would be the notes screen.

When the presentation is over Stop Pitch from the menu shuts down the Pitch support, but remember that Bluetooth need to be stopped manually!

The presentation quality is good. It is not quite up to the quality from a laptop but certainly good enough, particularly when the kudos of presenting from a P900 is taken into account.

Careful observation will show that the slides are rendered to jpg, or similar, for display by Pitch Duo. This is evidenced by the slight haloing around lettering.

There are however two prerequisites to getting a good quality presentation. The first is to load the true type fonts used in the presentation onto the P900 (see our article "True Type Fonts On Your Sony Ericsson" for information on how to do this). If true type fonts are not loaded Quickpoint substitutes the closest inbuilt font. As the inbuilt fonts are designed for small screen use they give poor letter quality at large sizes, as shown below.

The second key to getting the best presentation is image size. The limited memory on a UIQ devices means that if a presentation includes large graphics there may not be the resources to render them. It is therefore worth reducing images to the size needed in the presentation. This only applies to pictures, native PowerPoint or embedded graphical objects are not affected.

The only other significant limitation with Quickpoint is that it does not support all those stylistic features, animations and slide transitions, that can be used to bring a presentation to life.

It is not possible to create a presentation from scratch, which seems odd particularly given that slides can be added. One handy hint therefore is always to keep a minimal presentation on the phone as a template for new presentations.

Overall Quickpoint really impresses. It is an excellent presentation viewer. The fidelity of the editing process means that original features, such as embedded objects, transitions and animations, are left unaffected. This makes Quickpoint a practical way to update and edit presentation while mobile. The editing limitations mean that Quickpoint is not ideal for creating presentation's from scratch, it is excellent however for correcting and refreshing content on the road. The addition of an iGo Pitch Duo makes Quickpoint an great, lightweight tool for making presentations (assuming you do not have to carry the datashow).

A Final Point

There is one annoyance with Quickoffice. While the UIQ standard of closing out from an application when the user switches away is commendable in most situations - after all going back to contact found a few hours ago is not useful, getting presented with the contact list is - in Quickoffice it can be really annoying. If you need to switch away from Quickoffice, to check your calendar for example, the open document is closed. If you were part way through making a change in a long document when you return to Quickoffice the hunt is no to find were the last edit was made. Not too bad on a single page memo but no fun in a multi-page report. MDM are probably caught between a rock and a hard place with this: Follow the UIQ standard, and make life inconvenient for the user, or break the standard and encounter problems with UIQ and its licensees. A simple compromise would be a "resume editing "option that goes back to the last editing position, perhaps not ideal but could keep everyone happy.

Conclusion

Overall MDM's progress with Quickoffice must be commended. Given it has no real competition, the nearest being the Series 80 Developer Platforms Documents, Sheet and Presentation applications, the fact that Quickoffice is advancing shows both forethought and attention to user needs.

The current suite provides not only excellent viewing capabilities for Microsoft office documents but now allows updates to Word and PowerPoint files to be done safe in the knowledge that document integrity will be maintained. The new features make Quickoffice a practical tool to create richly formatted word documents, reasonably complex spreadsheets and presentation outlines (if a seed presentation is available on the device).

Quickoffice is already a UIQ best seller, version 3 will certainly help it stay that way. For any user of a UIQ phone Quickoffice is undoubtedly the must have application.

Quickoffice 3 for UIQ is available from the Quickoffice Web site (www.quickoffice.com/uiq/) or from Handango for $49.95. Mobility Electronics' iGo Pitch Duo costs $279 plus shipping and is available to US customers from the iGo Web site (www.igo.com) or from Expansys (www.expansys.com) for international orders.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 23 January 2005 )
 


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