Extracted from a recent post by marc_saltzman and edited by Nauman Jaffar
As a marketing and technology consultant and previous business leader who managed the mobile applications portfolio for our B2B segment – I keep getting asked as to which business apps do I use – Well I have to take a pause and I take a quick trip to our favorite app store and you might just think smartphone and tablet downloads are limited to fun and games — be it games like Game of Throne, Trivia Crack, dating apps such as Tinder or streaming video services a la Netflix. Not anymore – we all have started to download some productivity applications that suit our needs.
That you do as you know your mobile device is a lot more versatile than that, with many thousands of productivity-related apps to help you get more done, wherever life takes you.
Over the past five years we have covered quite a few of these work-related apps in this column, so consider the following a refresher of my top picks, along with some newer apps that can help on-the-go professionals.
PasswordBox: Chances are there are dozens of passwords you need to remember on a regular basis, such as ones for online banking, company site, cloud storage solution, online stores, webmail provider and social media services. Montreal-based PasswordBox Password Manager is a free (and award-winning) app that can help you easily create, store and recall passwords. Available for iOS and Android devices, along with Windows and Macs, PasswordBox requires you to set up a “master” password to enter your digital locker where all your individual passwords are stored. Plus the app automatically saves your logins while you browse so it logs you in for you. Passwords are encrypted with SSL and AES-256 for strong encryption.
OneTap: If it’s true distracted driving is related to 80 percent of all car crashes today, no doubt this brand-new and Calgary-made app will be welcomed by many: OneTap can manage your calls, texts and notifications once it senses you’re driving – via the phone’s GPS – and notifies those reaching you about your temporary unavailability. But you can also tweak the settings to allow calls to be routed to your vehicle’s Bluetooth system or simply accept urgent calls as identified by the caller. When you’ve reached your destination, OneTap will display as a summary of what you’ve missed. An opt-in feature, the app also lets you see where others are, such as a loved one. While only available for Android, an iOS version is in the works.
Duolingo: Ever dreamed of speaking another language — but can’t afford those pricey packages sold at mall kiosks? Now you’ve got nothing to lose with an ambitious and free app called Duolingo for iOS, Android and Windows devices. Select which language you’d like to learn or strengthen – such as Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian or English – and partake in the fun lessons to get you going, beginning with the basics such as nouns like “boy” and “girl,” as well as a couple of pronouns (she, he, we), feminine and masculine nouns (if applicable) and some verbs (like “to eat”). You’ll begin by tapping the word that matches a photo (such as a picture of a small boy for “garçon” in French) and you’ll hear a human-like voice say the word out loud. Each set of drills starts with four hearts, but every mistake you make takes one away.
Aviate: Designed and developed “with smiles” by Yahoo, Aviate is an intelligent home screen alternative for your Android phone. The app re-skins your device by replacing the default background with pages of randomly-placed apps on it with clean, white wallpaper and a smarter way to organize your apps. Specifically, swipe to the left, right or down to see apps cleverly segregated by time of day or the location you’re in, as well as automatically organized by type of app (Productivity, Games, Music, etc.) and listed alphabetically once you swipe again to the left. You can also add photos and widgets to your main home screen, if you like.
CamCard Free: Available for all major platforms, CamCard Free is a smart business card scanner for your mobile device. Simply place a business card on a flat surface, hover your phone above it and snap to take a photo (“scan”) of the card. The info will be quickly imported into various sections — name, title, company, address, phone number, email, and so on – and of course you can tweak it, if need be. Features include scanning business cards one by one or as a “batch” job; importing into your phone’s Contacts app; exchange e-cards with people you meet (QR code or by tapping Nearby Contacts); and right from within the app you can make calls, send messages or locate a company’s address on a map. The app works in one of 12 languages.
Skype: As you likely know, Skype lets you video chat with other users on your smartphone, tablet or computer — and it won’t cost you a dime if you’re using a free Wi-Fi hotspot, such as in a coffee shop, hotel lobby or airport lounge. Whether you’re calling across the world or down the street, Skype is a powerful and easy way to keep in touch with video, audio and text. Because most smartphones and tablets have two cameras, you can toggle between the front-facing and outward-facing lens, too. Skype also works on a cellular connection, as will Apple’s FaceTime, but it might incur data charges. Skype is available on all major phone and tablet platforms.
Google Maps: Along with getting accurate turn-by-turn directions to a destination in more than 220 countries and territories – whether you’re on foot, a bike, public transit or in a car — Google Maps for Android and iOS offers human-like voice guidance, smart local searches (with reviews and ratings), optional satellite imagery, a 360-degree Street View and the option to sync searches and directions between your computer and your phone or tablet. To help get you to where you’re going, Google Maps also features live traffic conditions and automatic rerouting, if necessary. There are other excellent mapping apps out there, too, including the community-powered Waze.
OneDrive: Create one central and secure place to hold all your “stuff” and access it all on multiple devices — this is the idea behind OneDrive, for all major platforms. This popular cloud solution lets you store, access and share your digital life while on the go. Instead of e-mailing your information or media from one device to another, or physically copying it onto a disc or USB key, you can wirelessly upload or download your documents and other files. Similarly, instead of clogging someone’s inbox with a huge file, send them a link to access what they need.
TripIt: Handy for keeping track of all your travel itineraries, the free TripIt app — for Android, Apple iOS, Windows Phone and BlackBerry — lets you forward all your confirmation e-mails for flights, hotels, rental cars and such. Then, TripIt will “automagically” organize them into detailed summaries with confirmation codes and other information. Once it’s on your device, you can get instant access to all the trip information you need — including links, phone numbers and maps with directions to airlines, hotels, rental places and restaurants — directly from your itinerary.
Evernote: Available for all major mobile platforms, the free Evernote is a handy app for typing notes, sketching, copying URLs, pasting photos and recording audio on, say, a million-dollar idea you want to archive on your smartphone or tablet. All notes automatically sync to the web and desktop versions of Evernote, so it’s easy to access your information anywhere. Evernote also works with a number of apps (see here) and hardware products such as the Livescribe Sky Wi-Fi Smartpen, which remembers everything you write on special paper (and records audio, too), then wirelessly uploads your work directly to Evernote.