THE DOCUMENT FOUNDATION, curator of the LibreOffice suite, has announced LibreOffice Viewer for Android.
LibreOffice Viewer is the first native application from the group to offer Open Document Format documents.
The term 'Viewer' should be emphasised at present, as the Foundation acknowledges that it is not ready for "mission critical tasks" in edit mode, and indeed users have to opt in to editing within settings.
It is an important first step, however, and the community is already working on a fuller version that offers more of the expected features.
LibreOffice Viewer actually uses the same rendering engine as its counterparts for Windows, OS X and Linux, with a front end based on Firefox for Android. This ensures maximum compatibility from the off.
It is the result of collaborations with Collabora and Igalia, backed by Smoose, and features contributions from students at the Google Summer of Code, the Document Foundation and the main LibreOffice community.
Suse has offered cross-platform support advice and code, and Mozilla has provided many of the core components.
LibreOffice 4.4.3 arrived earlier this month as a stepping stone to the next major 5.0 release, which is expected in July. Version 4.4 brought a major facelift to the OpenOffice fork, and just last week a bug-fixing workshop on version 5.0 brought it closer to stability.
The Firefox for Android front end is already becoming a popular tool. Adblock Plus announced its own dedicated browser last week, using the Firefox engine. The two will look identical initially, but Adblock Plus is said to be planning to deviate from it at a later date.
LibreOffice Viewer is available now in the Google Play Store, or by sideload from the LibreOffice website. µ
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