Thursday, March 28, 2013

Using Windows SkyDrive and Microsoft Office Web Apps with the UG007 Android 4.1.1 MiniPC


imageMany potential users of Android-powered MiniPCs (a.k.a. PC sticks and, less appropriately, TVBoxes) intend to run traditional productivity applications, as well as play games and watch videos.

imageWindows [Live] SkyDrive is a free Microsoft Web-based file hosting service. SkyDrive enables users to upload and synchronize files to cloud storage using HTML or dedicated (native) apps for Windows, iOS and Android. As of 4/23/2012, Microsoft provides 7 GB of free storage to new users; I was an earlier user and received 25 GB of free storage by request. Subscribers to Office 365 receive a 25-GB quota.

Here’s my SkyDrive account open in IE 10:


imageFree Microsoft Office Web Apps enable users to upload, create, edit, and share Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote documents directly in Internet Explorer 10, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome browsers. SkyDrive and Office Web Apps complete directly with Google Drive and Google Docs.

Working with Image and Worksheet Files in the Chrome Browser

Here’s a capture of my UG-007 Android MiniPC displaying the same window in the Chrome browser:


Clicking (or tapping) a tile containing bitmaps opens the folder and shows thumbnails of its contents, flowers in my front and back yard for this example:


Clicking a tile opens this detail page, which is identical to that with IE 10:


Clicking the Download button downloads the file to local storage:


Opening a *.xls[x] file starts the Excel Web App, which lets you edit (widen the Duration column for this example) and save the update to SkyDrive:


Working with Word and PowerPoint files follows a similar path.

Working with Image Files in the Native SkyDrive for Android App

Microsoft’s free SkyDrive for Android app is available from Google’s Play store:


Native forms are simpler than their HTML counterparts, as shown here for the opening page:


Here’s the Flowers folder:


And the downloaded Flower1 image:


However, the native SkyDrive for Android app doesn’t let you open or edit Office files, such as Excel worksheets:


Using the Native OneNote Mobile for Android App

You can download and install Microsoft’s OneNote Mobile for Android App from Google’s Play store:


Here are details about new features in OneNote 2010:


And the start of a new note:



The UG007 is capable of handling most productivity tasks that you can perform on a Windows Surface RT tablet at less than 10% of the capital cost, assuming you have an HDTV with an HDMI input.

imageMatt Smith answered Yes for the UG007 in his Can a $50 mini PC replace your desktop? We tested 3 of them to find out article of 3/20/2013 for Digital Trends (@DigitalTrends). From Matt’s review:

Moving over to the 4.1 [UG007] system was a breath of fresh air. The more modern Cortex A9 dual-core processor provided a boost in performance that was noticeable from the start, but it’s not just the hardware that deserves recognition. Android 4.1 is the first version to incorporate “Project Butter,” Google’s successful attempt to optimize the operating system’s performance. We had no problem viewing complex Web pages, and 1080p streaming video was smooth. In some ways, the performance of this mini PC matched Windows desktops sold for hundreds more.

minipc7That leaves the Android 4.1 system. We thought this might be the underdog, given the price, but the better processor and newer version of Android are well worth the extra dollars. Though not useful as a true PC, the system is a good streaming media player and TV Web browser. If you’re looking for a streaming media product, yet also don’t like the proprietary software most devices in that category use, the Android 4.1 mini PC is a solid alternative.

We were also surprised by the power of the 4.1 mini PC. Yes, the hardware is technically much slower than anything in a modern Windows desktop, but it didn’t feel that way. Instead, the interface was snappy, Web browsing was smooth, and load times were short. Android’s mobile interface and app ecosystem, not the hardware, proved the real obstacle.

If you choose your apps wisely, “Android’s mobile interface” doesn’t get in the way. I’d say Android 4.1+ is equal to Windows RT for usability on an ARM-powered device. Joshua Sherman reported Intel releases ‘optimized’ Android 4.2 release, hinting it will dual-boot with Windows 8 in a 3/13/2013 Digital Trends post.