Reading documents has typically been a painful chore on most smartphones, where applications struggle to rationalize the so-called third screen.
Google, whose Android operating system is racing after Apple's iPhone operating system in the U.S. market, has been taking steps to remedy this by adapting applications it wrote for the desktop to mobile devices.
This includes tools such as Google Docs Viewer, which let users view documents online without leaving their browser to download them.
The company June 29 issued a mobile version of the Google Docs viewer for Android, iPhone and iPad to let users preview PDFs, .ppt, .doc and .docx files they've uploaded without downloading the file.
Google software engineer Mickey Kataria said this tool will let users pan or zoom in a Web page or even switch between pages. iPhone and iPad users can pinch to zoom in or out.
That's not bad looking; note the fidelity of the document is intact, including headers and footnotes.
But at the risk of sounding bratty, I don't care to read documents on a smartphone, even if it has the finest pinch-to-zoom technology available.
I'm playing with the Motorola Droid X right now, and I can tell you reading documents on it just doesn't feel right, probably because they are meant to be read as close to the classic 8-by-11 style as possible.
Reading these through Google Docs Viewer on a tablet computer, such as iPad, Cisco's Android-based Cius or any of the legion of forthcoming Android tablets, would be preferable.
How do you like the mobile Docs Viewer on your iPad, iPhone or Android phone?