Having received my ThinkFree U3 USB Pen drive with ThinkFree Office 3.0 installed among other programmes, I’ve found it hard to find situations where I can put it to use.
However, I have been in a truely disconnected state, journeying on a train. Power is available either via the battery or power points in the carriage, but there is no network. So that was a good opportunity to have a look at ThinkFree.
On an XP machine the launch of U3 is seamless, and the software initialises smoothly and joins the legion of taskbars icons on the tool bar.
From the launchpad you can launch ThinkFree smoothly which then
is accessible from its own taskbar icon.
You can select any of the three productivity applications…
ThinkFree Office Write…
ThinkFree Office Calc…
ThinkFree Office Show…
Though I haven’t done any thorough testing these all work like you would expect of an office productivity application. What I do like is the functionality to create PDF files – that’s lacking from other suites.
Hats off to ThinkFree for making their application U3 compatible. That certainly is a differentiator for them in a competitive software market.
I like U3 a lot though it does come at an overhead in the available free space on the removable pen drive.
So the usability I can’t fault, and the portability is selling point. But I am struggling to make use of it.
If I am working whether online or offline I use my laptop, it already has an office suite therefore it is accessible and available in all situations should I require it. If I need to save data to a pen drive I will, but it is often only purpose is as a means of transfer from a disconnected device to another; I don’t see a pen drive a permanent data repository; while I have an accessible hard drive I will use it.
Perhaps I would appreciate this more if the laptop suite and pen drive suite were the same but that isn’t my choice.
I am no expert on office productivity suites and their costs, but I think ThinkFree is probably very competitively priced, however there are free suites out there and they will have to continue to make sure they differentiate themselves successfully to remain in the market.