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Android to Get ThinkFree Office Suite

Android-based mobile devices will get a new option for users looking for productivity applications as well as the ability to work with Microsoft Office files.

ThinkFree announced today that it plans to preview its ThinkFree Mobile for Android next week at the big Computex trade show in Taiwan.

One big caveat, though: The software isn't due out till July, and that version will only be for viewing documents. The ability to edit Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents, as well as those generated by ThinkFree's own suite, isn't slated for release till this fall. The company said it's currently negotiating with several device makers about embedding ThinkFree Mobile so consumers would have access to it right out of the box free of charge.

The news comes as a significant ramp up in Android models from various vendors is expected between now and the end of the year. Between 18 to 20 Android-powered devices, made by eight or nine different manufacturers, will be for sale this year worldwide, Andy Rubin, Google's (NYSE:GOOG) senior director for mobile platforms, said at the just completed Google I/O.

Edward Coloma, senior manager for sales and business development at ThinkFree, said the company is under non-disclosure agreements with certain manufacturers and can't say in which devices its suite might first appear. The company did announce it has a partnership with ARM, the company behind the processors used by many mobile device makers.

"It could well go to an Android-based netbook, which of course has a bigger screen for viewing," Coloma told InternetNews.com. "But we can optimize for any form factor."

ThinkFree Mobile for Android consists of ThinkFree Write for word processing, ThinkFree Calc for spreadsheets and ThinkFree Show for presentations. The app suite integrates with ThinkFree Online, the company's existing online service for collaboration and synchronization across all documents. ThinkFree Mobile includes 1GB of free online document storage.

Kerry McGuire, director of software alliances at ARM, endorsed ThinkFree's plans.

"ThinkFree has brought an innovative approach to the mobile office suite that enables a consistent office experience across both smartphones and netbooks," McGuire said in a statement. "We are pleased to have their continued support as part of the ARM community."