Windows Mobile users have been able to use basic, stripped-down versions of Microsoft's Office tools for years. Now WM 6.5 users can experience an altogether more powerful productivity suite, in the shape of Microsoft Office Mobile 2010.
The latest version adds some powerful new functionality to the suite and harnesses the capabilities Windows Mobile 6.5 to deliver a more intuitive user experience. Microsoft Office Mobile 2010 displays a splash page with access to all the components of the suite: Word Mobile, Excel Mobile, SharePoint Workspace Mobile and OneNote Mobile. It also updates Outlook Mobile with some new tools, such as a Conversation view for combining related messages, and tighter integration with Microsoft Exchange.
The overall look and feel of all the apps within Microsoft Office Mobile 2010 is much improved on the previous version. The drop-down menus are sexier and more touch-friendly, and the apps support touch gestures for zooming in and out of documents and flicking through files. That said, the toolbar icons within the apps still look very outdated compared with the desktop versions. I was also disappointed to learn that you still can't drag over text with the stylus to select it for copying, cutting and pasting.
What's in the box
In terms of the utilities themselves, Word, Excel and PowerPoint are definitely more functional than they've ever been on a mobile. For instance, Word Mobile 2010 now includes more formatting options, a whole bunch of new preset formulas have been added to Excel Mobile 2010, and PowerPoint Mobile 2010 adds a feature for hooking up to your PC via Bluetooth and flicking through slides from your phone.
SharePoint WorkSpace Mobile is a new addition within Microsoft Office Mobile 2010. This neat app lets you hook up to a SharePoint server to view and open documents before editing them in Office Mobile and saving them back to the server. Its syncing capabilities mean that whenever a file is updated on the server, the version on your device will be automatically synced.
Another newcomer in Microsoft Office Mobile 2010 is OneNote Mobile. This very simple organizational tool lets you add voice, picture or text notes and store them as reminders. These notes can also be synced with your PC.
This version of Microsoft Office Mobile is still in Beta, and it's free to try until 5 April 2010, after which time you'll need to pay for it.
Microsoft Office Mobile 2010 is the strongest release of the suite to date, though it's still a long way off the power of the desktop version.