SolidWorks Recognizes Android As A Platform


Too harsh?  We Android users are used to having to wait for the next big app to ship after iOS. The fact that SolidWorks themselves stated in the SolidWorks Forums in the Official eDrawings Mobile Wish List thread that there were "No plans to develop for Android", brought customers out in droves requesting them to reconsider.

At SolidWorks World 2013 (January) a glimpse of hope was shown on the main stage when a sneek peek version of eDrawings was  running on Google's own Nexus 7 tablet. Things were looking good...

Yesterday news came down from the SolidWorks Blog that eDrawings had finally made it's debut onto the Google Play Store after being pre-announced back in January. eDrawings for Android, like it's iOS sister, is the only real viewer that can work with the breath of features in native SolidWorks files. 

Here are the details of the first eDrawings release for Android  (From the Play Store):

* Intuitive and easy-to-use user interface
* Open 3D (EASM, EPRT, SLDASM, SLDPRT), 2D (EDRW, SLDDRW) and associated files from any source: email attachments, cloud storage services (Dropbox™, SkyDrive®, Google Drive, Hightail®, and others), web and FTP sites and network folders.
* Zoom, pan and rotate your 2D or 3D CAD data using multi-touch
* Animate 3D standard views
* Browse your 2D drawing sheets
* View your designs in full screen and double tap to fit it on screen
* Sample files included

You might remember the launch of the iPad version that shipped on May 1st, updated on June 15 and in September eDrawings Pro for iPad shipped which really made eDrawings on mobile something to envy.  There has been no official word on if/when a pro version will be available for Android but I am sure they are working on it as we speak.

In order to test eDrawings for Android like I did for iOS, I wanted to go back through my test files and see what still applied to the compatibility chart.  I did most of my testing on the new Nexus 7 which shipped on July 24th, 2013. The results were almost identical to the first iOS release except on Android it appears that you can open SolidWorks template files (just like the desktop version), which was not possible on the iOS version. Password protected files and files with markups in them will appear to open but just switch to eDrawings without any content available for viewing.  This is expected in a V1 release and I am sure there will be bug fixes and enhancements to come in the following weeks.  Below is the compatibility chart from my testing... 

At $1.99 this is a "no-brainer" purchase for any Android user and it seems to be compatible on both phones and tablets without issue.  I hope to see a Pro version soon but this is a great first step and hopefully we will see more parity with an iOS release schedule in the future.  ~Lou

SWW12 - The Year for Mobile?

Will SolidWorks World 2012 be the year for mobile?  I hope so!  Last year SolidWorks released an iPhone app that was especially built for SWW 2011 giving users the ability to browse sessions and get valuable info about speakers, partners, maps etc of the event.  After 10 years of thumbing through the little conference booklet and trying to determine where I was going next, this app made navigating the conference simple.  Having a lot of detail, especially of the partner pavillion, allowed me to get more out of SWW than previous years.

The issue that many had voiced about the app was the fact it was oniy on iOS (iPhone) at the time. Considering Android is taking the market by storm, it only makes sense that if SolidWorks is to offer such a great tool that it be available on the lion's share of devices. This year they launched a 2012 version of the app but this time it is available on both iOS and Android and the iOS version is a universal app, giving iPad users full use of the screen real estate.

After navigating around in the app I find that browsing sessions is so easy, especially researching and signing up right from within the app. You can log in with your registration account and see what is is coming up next in your agenda and figure out how to get there.

Seeing the CAD market get more focused on mobile, I hope this year SolidWorks follows suit and offers more mobile options for access and viewing our SolidWorks data.  Expanding this simple conference app made me do some searching on the stores for other SolidWorks apps and I came across another one that was promised a year ago for n!Fuze.  I re-registerd my n!Fuze membership and applied to get another trial because I have not used it since the official/non-official launchin late summer.  The app is simple and crashes a lot, probalby due to some overhauling that I would imagine they have been performing over the past few months.  

If you do any extensive searches on the Android market or the iOS App Store you will find a number of 3rd parties for SolidWorks data viewing, many of which are free to download but come with a in-app purchase of $$$ to get the translators you would want to view SolidWorks data.  Another one was charging a monthly fee to be able to view Solidworks data.  The best idea to date was to use the new Inforbix app but that needs to be crawled by their bots to be usable with your data.  

So what do I want to see?  I want eDrawings on my devices, giving me native viewing of SolidWorks data on the go.  If I get an email with a SolidWorks/eDrawing attachment, I want to view that data on my device.  I would also like to have a way to view this data in a collaborative mannor with other parties, similar to what you can do with AutoCAD data on their AutoCAD WS platform.

Bottom line, users want access to that data from any device they have with them.  Currently I have talked for years about how to bend what tools we have available today but this is a bit limited.  SolidWorks will need to get some headway with apps starting in 2012 or the market will respond and users/3rd parties will begin filling the void with solutions.  SolidWorks World is a perfect platform to launch products and I hope this will be one of the offers.  Only time will tell!  Hope to see you at World! ~Lou