Kingsoft on Tuesday announced that it has expanded its WPS Office suite to include WPS Cloud. The upgrade enables users to work in a cross-platform office suite environment with added storage, file roaming and sharing capabilities.
The cloud-enhanced version is available for PCs and mobile as a fully functional free release and with premium subscriptions. It runs on Linux, Windows, Mac and Android devices.
The free version is ad-supported.
Today’s mobile users are accustomed to ad-supported apps and other software, according to Cole Armstrong, senior director for global marketing at Kingsoft.
WPS Cloud is designed to work as a companion to WPS Office, offering users the benefits of cloud computing, such as flexibility and collaboration.
Cloud adoption continues to soar, according to a report by Allied Research. The personal cloud market, in particular, is expected to reach US$89.9 billion globally by 2020.
Providing cloud support with WPS Office will provide a good alternative to the likes of Microsoft’s OneDrive offering and Google’s Drive, which is part of its G Suite ecosystem, noted Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.
“It will allow Kingsoft to position WPS Office as a fully capable alternative to solutions and services from larger competitors,” he told LinuxInsider.
Kingsoft first launched WPS in China almost 30 years ago. It now boasts more than 1.2 billion installs worldwide.
Viable Proprietary Option
WPS Cloud is a complete document storage and management service that lets users view and edit files anywhere at anytime. Automatic backup and link-sharing tools promote real-time collaboration across multiple devices and platforms.
“The new cloud storage service should enable Kingsoft to compete on a more equal footing with traditional office productivity vendors, and is also likely to be welcomed by the company’s target SMB customers,” observed King.
The cloud service complements the WPS Office’s File Roaming feature announced earlier this year, he added, which allows users to download and work with files seamlessly on multiple devices, including smartphones, tablets and traditional PCs.
Files are protected from loss with enterprise-level data security and multiple backups. WPS Office offers user options beyond those available in products such as Microsoft Office and Libre Office, according to WPS.
For example, users can create, view, edit, store and share documents to improve their productivity. Users can access files either from within WPS Office, or through the WPS Cloud Web portal.
The enhanced usability offers Linux users an ideal free office software alternative to Microsoft Office. It also gives users on other platforms another office suite option besides LibreOffice.
WPS Writer, Presentation, Spreadsheets and PDF Reader/Converter are fully compatible with other office software solutions. Users of both the free and premium versions of WPS Office + Cloud receive 1 GB of free storage space on WPS Cloud.
However, the free version limits the number of connected devices to three, said Kingsoft’s Armstrong.
Users so far can not purchase additional cloud storage space, he told LinuxInsider, “but Kingsoft plans to add that capability later this year.”
Users must register the product — both the free and premium versions — to access the WPS Cloud’s 1 GB of free cloud storage. Registration is available through linking existing email, Facebook, Google, Dropbox or Twitter accounts.
Both free and premium users also get file roaming and cross device support. File roaming allows users to open or create documents in WPS Office.
The documents automatically save to WPS Cloud. Users see a list of recent files that they can access across all connected devices, including Windows PCs, Android or iOS mobile devices, and those running the Linux OS.
As with file-sharing on other cloud storage platforms, a document creator can share a direct link that allows intended recipients to view and download WPS documents even if they do not have the WPS Office with Cloud suite, noted Armstrong.
A feature that lets users view files through a Web browser currently is available only in the China version, but Kingsoft hopes to add that feature globally soon, Armstrong said.
Meeting Users’ Needs
Cross-platform support is essential. So is cloud security. Kingsoft addresses both concerns in its latest offering.
“Users are increasingly adopting and using apps and documents in the cloud and growing accustomed to accessing content across devices regardless of their environment,” said Armstrong. “More and more, they want equal access to office software, whether on a mobile device or traditional PC.”
Files are protected from loss with enterprise-level data security and multiple backups. All data is stored in the user’s country of residence.
Cost and Product Specs
Users can subscribe to the premium version of WPS Office + Cloud for US$3.99 per month or $29.99 per year. A one-time $79.99 payment provides a lifetime subscription. The WPS Office suite supports DOC, DOCX, XLS, XLSX, PPT, PDF, TXT, HTM, RTF, DOT and DOTX file formats.
The 1 GB cloud storage limit is paltry compared to the space provided by competing cloud products associated with office suite platforms, but the product cost for WPS Office is considerably lower.
For instance, Microsoft Office provides 1 TB of cloud storage on OneDrive for $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year. Google’s G Suite provides 30 GB on Google Drive for $5 per month.
Premium upgrades come with additional features and tools. However, the free versions — dubbed “sponsored access” because they display ads — are fully functional and not otherwise limited in performance.
The premium features include a PDF to Word Converter and a PDF Split and Merge tool. Additional fonts and templates also are included. No ads are displayed in the premium versions.
It’s worth mentioning that rather than using the new service, Kingsoft customers can utilize Microsoft or Google cloud storage for their WPS Office documents instead, noted Pund-IT’s King.
“In fact, many if not most of them likely already use OneDrive or Google Drive services.,” he said, “so it will be critical for Kingsoft to proactively reach out to its SMB clients and provide services designed to their core needs.”
The company already has begun doing just that.
However, “I expect that drumbeat to intensify,” said King, “after the WPS Cloud announcement is official.”