Quip brings its collaborative word processing app to Android
Four months after Quip launched on iOS, the company delivers on its promise of an Android app for its eponymous word processor. Today's release comes on the heels of a major update to its Web and iOS apps that finally lets you import Microsoft Word files, a feature the Android version lacks for now. Still, with these two updates, Quip edges closer to its ideal of being a collaborative cross-platform word processor. It's not there yet, but of the apps I've seen, it has a lot of potential of getting there.
Android was always part of the plan for Quip, but when the company first launched its iOS and Web word processors, it couldn't commit to a timeline then. But when I spoke with Bret Taylor, a founder of Quip and former CTO at Facebook, it became clear that cross-platform and device-agnostic support is critical to Quip's mission, and that the company meant what it said when at launch it promised an Android version.
As he names the stats -- some 81 percent of the world's smartphones are on Android, and 50 percent of the smartphones in the U.S. -- it's clear that heading to Android was a foregone conclusion. "Our goal has been to make a word processor that works seamlessly across devices -- PC, tablet, and smartphone. We believe that is the new normal. And when we've designed these collaborative features, that's been our focus," Taylor says. "We always thought that it was really important to integrate messaging into the experience, so you can talk about the document while you're in the document. Everyone can then see the meeting notes at the same time, and it makes the document come alive and become a part of the company's workflow.”
Since its launch, Quip has developed an enthusiastic user base (the company declines to give numbers), ranging from individual users to teams in education and corporate markets. The free service is designed for individuals and smaller groups of up to five people. Quip for Business costs $12 per month, per user, up to 250 users (larger installations may have different pricing). And since the beginning, everything about Quip was designed to zero in on collaboration.
I can see why: I liked a lot about how Quip worked on iOS when I first reviewed it. And since then, the company has fixed some but not all of the issues I had (you still can't resize images, for example).
The recent iOS and Web update enabled importing files -- Word documents (both .doc and .docx files), as well as RTF and text files -- from Google Drive, Dropbox, and Evernote, or directly from your PC (Web version only). You can import all documents, or individual documents, but you can't do a mass export yet. Once files are in Quip, they live in the Quip cloud, and can only be exported as PDF files. You can easily invite users to a folder, or to a specific document; if to a folder, then it will be shared with all members of that folder -- a feature that is particularly useful for teams.
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