ThinkBoxly is the personal developer blog of Lucas Chasteen, author, programmer, artist, and always learning. Read more

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

AndrOpen Office – Finally the Real Deal Comes to Android

As Android is based on a Linux kernel, it has long been the dream of fans of Google’s mobile OS to see desktop Linux applications running on portable devices. In the early years of Android, hardware limitations prevented this dream from becoming a practical reality, but these days things are not so difficult. Many of us regularly use tablets and smartphones with quad-core CPUs running in the 1.5GHz range, a gig or two of RAM, and a capable GPU, whether that be based on NVIDIA’s famous Tegra platform or otherwise. Android devices are becoming more and more like their bigger Linux brethren all the time, and so at last we’re beginning to see some solid ports of Linux software to Android. While many of these ports are little more than interesting experiments at this point, there is one particular project that deserves some serious attention: AndrOpen Office.

As you probably guessed by the name, AndrOpen Office is a full port of, the popular open-source office suite and biggest competitor to Microsoft’s even more popular proprietary office software. To clarify, this isn’t the long-awaited official port of LibreOffice–a fork of OpenOffice–which has essentially been in development stasis for quite some time now. Instead, AndrOpen Office is the effort of a (presumably) individual developer, yet for the serious office user this single developer’s offering already exceeds every other office suite on Google Play right now in raw value.

Now, that isn’t to say there aren’t bugs or complications. OpenOffice was clearly designed to be used with a mouse and keyboard, and it does not translate nicely to a touch screen on its own–especially on very high-density displays. AndrOpen Office attempts to alleviate the problems with a few button overlays that mostly just simulate keyboard button presses, but these only cover barebones functionality that the software would be totally unusable without. Where AndrOpen Office really shines is on a tablet with a proper keyboard plugged in via either USB or Bluetooth. At that point you get a full office suite that’s just about as capable as a laptop, but far more convenient. AndrOpen Office also plays nice with cloud storage apps like DropBox, so you can open a file from your cloud storage app, edit it on the go, save your changes, and when you get back to your PC it will be all ready for you.

And of course in addition to features/conveniences such as these that are at least somewhat unique to Android devices, you get all the benefits that come with any installation of OpenOffice, but are hard to find in native Android office solutions. Writer (like Word), Calc (like Excel), Impress (like PowerPoint), Draw (like Publisher), Base (like Access), and Math are all here, and they come with all the functionality you’d expect from a desktop office suite. Make macros, insert images or other media from anywhere on your Android device, or compose with a variety of standard font formats. And of course, you don’t have to worry about anything getting jumbled or rearranged in the transition from desktop OpenOffice/LibreOffice to AndrOpen Office and back again–a common issue with mobile office suits.

Just like its desktop counterparts, AndrOpen Office is free software, so what are you waiting for? Hit up the link below and download it from Google Play. This is just one of those apps that every Android user should have.

Check out AndrOpen Office for Android on Google Play