In addition to creating new documents and editing existing ones, users will also be able to employ the suite's popular collaborative editing features. Google also enabled local caching for offline editing, and changes are automatically saved as users type.
Until now, the Drive app was the only first-party native solution for accessing Google Docs on smartphones or tablets. Google says the new apps are a response to a growing trend that has seen users turn to those devices more often, which has sparked a desire for more robust options.
"Every year, phones and tablets get better, and more of you are starting to use your mobile devices not just to view, but also to create and edit content," Google product manager Brian LeVee wrote in a blog post announcing the move. "And while the Drive app is a convenient place to store your stuff, we want to make it easier for you to quickly find, edit and create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations on the go."
The apps' development may have also been spurred by Microsoft's decision to bring its Office 365 suite to the iPad, leaving Google's offerings in third place behind Apple's iWork suite and Office. Though Office was released only recently, whispers of Microsoft's imminent entry began to appear last fall.
Docs and Sheets are available now on the App Store as free universal downloads,?with Docs clocking in at 19.9 megabytes and Sheets a heftier 41.7 megabytes. The Slides app is said to be "coming soon."