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LibreOffice Viewer for Android Beta Makes On the Go Reading a Cinch

libreoffice view for androidReading LibreOffice documents on the go gets a heap easier from today with the beta release of LibreOffice Viewer for Android.

The free app allows you to view Open Document files (.odt, .odf, etc.) and a number of alternative and proprietary file formats, including the ubiquitous .doc and .docx, on an Android smartphone or tablet. The app is available to download from the Play Store today.

So Is It Any Good?

As the first step in bringing the LibreOffice brand of productivity to Android the Viewer is promising stuff.

Text documents and basic presentations can be opened and are rendered, though you’ll need to wait a little longer for handling of complex or fancy presentations.

The app is a beta and at times this is evident (read: bugs). While not ready to be anyone’s go-to document viewer, it can’t yet, for example, browse files saved on an SD card – it has to start somewhere. Despite the bugs the app helps bridge the gulf between moving from desktop to mobile and back again.

It’s probably important that I stress that this application is not a fully-featured office suite for editing files. It’s a document viewer, not a replacement for Polaris or Google Docs or similar office suites.

“Major Milestone for LibreOffice”

The application has been created by Collabora, known for sponsoring open-source community projects like Gstreamer, Wayland and Telepathy, and built on work by the wider LibreOffice community, SUSE, and the Mozilla Corporation.

The Document Foundation’s Bjoern Michaelsen is suitably excited by the release of LibreOffice Viewer, calling the release a ‘major milestone for the entire project’.

LibreOffice Viewer for Android is a beta and as such should be installed with adjusted expectation. It’s available as a free download from Google Play and works with Android 4.1 and up.

LibreOffice Viewer for Android on Google Play