RepliGo

by PocketGoddess on June 27, 2003

RepliGo has two main components, a handheld viewer and a desktop conversion program. While this review involves testing on a Palm OS device, RepliGo is also compatible with Pocket PCs, Microsoft SmartPhones, and the Symbian OS. Supported document formats include Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Project, web pages, Adobe Acrobat, Visio, MapPoint, and even faxes. In some of those applications, a RepliGo button will be added to your toolbar, while in some, like the Mozilla web browser, you can access the RepliGo functions from the “Print” item on the File menu. By either pressing the RepliGo toolbar button or printing to RepliGo, almost any document can quickly be converted for handheld use and even better, they tend to “shrink” in size when you do so. There are several examples on the developer’s web site, but I found in my own testing that Word and Excel files seem to take up about half as much space on the device as they do on the desktop.

 


On the handheld side, RepliGo provides some really neat features. For starters, it is OS5 compatible and supports high resolution screens for great clarity. It also provides expansion card support, which is almost a requirement these days–especially considering that if you want to carry a lot of documents with you, 16MB simply may not be enough room anymore, and that’s assuming you don’t have a lot of third party software on your device. But it’s the actual viewing options that are the best, especially the ability to “re-flow” Acrobat documents. Instead of having to jump all over the screen to follow the various textboxes and sidebars that seem to be common in PDF files, you can tap the re-flow button (it looks like a squiggly line on the toolbar at the bottom of the screen) and everything is reposititioned, as if by magic. You can also choose the zoom percentage, from 10% to 300%. While I’d like a few more options here, the range seems to be pretty good–you can see the whole page at once to get a feel for the layout of the document, and when you want to read it anywhere from 75% to 200% should work well for you. You can also zoom a portion of the document, and navigate around from top to bottom and side to side with your stylus. Another nifty feature are back and forward buttons on the left hand side of the toolbar–they enable to you switch views very quickly by going back to what the document looked like before you zoomed it, etc.–in effect they act like the back button on your web browser. About the only quibble I can find is that you can’t use your up and down scroll buttons to go from page to page, but only up and down within the current page. You’ll have to use the right and left arrows on the toolbar to go from page to page.

RepliGo isn’t the perfect solution to viewing documents on your handheld device, but it’s pretty close. I really like the fact that it supports a wide variety of document types through its clever use of the Print menu on those applications that it doesn’t directly support through a toolbar button. One of my biggest frustration with some apps is that they only support Internet Explorer, for example, when there are quite a few people who use Netscape, Mozilla, and other alternatives. If you’d like to try it out for yourself, you can download a free trial at Cerience or you can buy a full version for $29.95. Even better, my contact at Cerience informed me that free handheld and desktop viewers will be available very soon, so that the only ones who need to purchase RepliGo are those who want to make content available on their websites, company intranets, and the like. This is exciting news, especially if all of those files are cross-platform compatible. Finally, something Palm OS, Pocket PC, Microsoft Smartphone, and Symbian OS users can agree on!

PocketGoddess rating for RepliGo: 4.5 out of 5

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