This morning I met with Edward Coloma from ThinkFree, developers of the ThinkFree Office suite. Back in October, the company introduced a demo of the productivity suite specifically for netbooks and today the company showed me the software running on Qualcomm-based hardware. They’re looking to have their product available for Android during the first half of 2009, but of course it all depends on hardware vendors since there aren’t any Android netbooks on the market… yet.
The test hardware I saw ThinkFree software running on was the same Qualcomm concept notebook we saw last month. The specs were meager by today’s netbook standards: the CPU was clocked under 600 MHz and had limited memory: 256MB. Yet the productivity demonstration ran reasonably well and is already optimized for touch controls. The concept hardware had a touchscreen and it was easy to tap and navigate through the simple menus. Overall, the software was pretty impressive considering it was ported over to support an ARM environment; it surely doesn’t hurt that it’s heavily based in Java.
ThinkFree is working with various OEMs to get the suite bundled on netbooks, but is considering a netbook version for sale. Too early for pricing, but their full version or Windows, Mac or Linux notebooks runs around $50 right now. My gut says the right price point for a netbook optimized version is around $30 to $35. The key selling point is the software’s ability to work both on- and off-line. We simply don’t have connectivity available all the time on our netbooks. Why sacrifice productivity when disconnected if you don’t have to?
I’ll be looking deeper at ThinkFree’s solution as they provided me with an Asus Eee PC 1000H review unit for 30 days, complete with their netbook software. Meanwhile, check out the gallery.