Goodreader for iPad ($0.99) - By Good.iWare Ltd.

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Pros: It’s cheap; Connects to popular cloud storage services; Allows users to download, view and manage documents effectively.

Cons: Interface can be confusing initially; No connectivity option for Windows Live Skydrive accounts.

Buying Advice: I highly recommend this app for any user that needs access to files stored on a local computer or a supported cloud storage account. 

For business users, the iPad is definitely lacking in features that would make the device more functional for everyday office use.  There is no file manager or network explorer built into the device and the iWork Pages app is available as an add-on to provide some limited document editing and creation functionality, if you can figure out a way to get editable documents onto the iPad (via email or otherwise).  Goodreader is an app that has been available on the iPhone and iPod Touch for a long time as a document viewer, with some enhanced functionality available for the iPhone for an additional fee.  Goodreader for the iPad is fully functional without additional cost.  

Goodreader takes a bit of exploring to discover its full potential, but after becoming familiar with all of the functionality it adds to the iPad, you’ll be scrambling to justify your expense of the device to your employer.  In addition to being an excellent document viewer, the most useful feature of Goodreader is its ability to connect to cloud storage services like Google Docs, Box.net, Dropbox, Mobileme, FTP and WebDAV servers, and POP3 and IMAP mail servers (to view email attachments).  

Once connected to a cloud storage account, you may download virtually any file to Goodreader.  From there, you may use the “Manage Files” tab to open the file in another app (like Pages if it’s an editable document), move it into a folder, rename it, delete it, or email it.  

The developer’s website includes a full list of supported file types as well as a basic user manual. While i can tell you that I’ve had to turn to the manual a time or two, it’s not been because of the slightly confusing UI, but more to learn how to fully use Goodreader’s extensive functionality.  One example of a feature more fully understood by reference to the user manual is Wifi File Transfer.  It’s a great feature for the technically inclined used to transfer files from a computer on the same wifi network as the iPad.

While i wish the iPad included a native file system, Goodreader has proven a capable substitute. Hopefully, the developer simplifies the UI, adds support for importing files from Pages, and support for uploading files to cloud storage.


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