LibreOffice’s Bold Course for the Tablet

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Microsoft now officially has a clock ticking – set to sound the alarm in less than two years – on its effort to port its Office productivity franchise in a meaningful way to the iPad and Android platforms.

That’s because the upstart, open-source community LibreOffice has announced its plans to port a working version of its document, spreadsheet and presentation suite to iOS and Android platforms. In a blog item on its site a member of the community wrote that for iOS and Android, the LibreOffice applications “will become products sometimes in late 2012 or early 2013."

While there are a number of productivity suites available on the tablet platforms, including Apple’s own paid iWork software for iOS, there are no significant, true cross-platform (iOS, Android, PC and Mac OS X)-based productivity suites yet on the market.

According to the LibreOffice community posting: "The LibreOffice Android and iOS port has the objective of bringing the office suite to iPads and Android tablets, and eventually smaller devices. The user interface work has yet to start in earnest but the bulk of the code is compiling."

In case you doubt LibreOffice’s ability to make it onto mainstream tablets, know that this is a community that puts its head down and works quickly.

LibreOffice, which splintered from the project following Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems (which had been shepherding that effort), has been making quick strides over the past 18 months. In addition to launching an official product under its own banner, LibreOffice is now the default productivity suite in the Ubuntu desktop. The launch of the next version of LibreOffice is slated for Nov. 7.

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