Smartphones

Best Android smartphone apps of 2011 for business pros

Jason Hiner highlights 20 of the most useful Android smartphone apps for business professionals.

The Android Market may not have as many apps as the iPhone App Store yet, but there are still more than enough to be overwhelmed, and it continues to grow at a breakneck pace. To help you sort through them all, here is my latest list of the 20 most useful Android apps (this is an update of my 2010 Android list). I've also recently updated my list of the most useful iPhone apps and you'll notice several of the same apps on both lists.

Remember that I primarily had business professionals in mind when making this list and also keep in mind that this is a snapshot in time. The Android platform is developing so quickly that I guarantee my home screen will look different a month from now.

Still, here's my list of tried-and-true Android apps that I can highly recommend.

Note: This post originally appeared in TechRepublic's Tech Sanity Check blog.

1. Google Voice

Google Voice is a service that is so useful I consider it one of the top benefits of Android itself. The service gives you a phone number that can ring to multiple places or devices and it allows you to access all of your voicemail and text messages from the Web. The Android app integrates even deeper. It can make outgoing calls look like they're coming from your Google Voice number so that you can keep your real mobile number private.

2. Advanced Task Killer

One of the realities of having a multitasking mobile OS is that you have to manage your apps so that they don't hurt performance or battery life. Advanced Task Killer (ATK) is my favorite on Android. It even comes with a widget that you can tap once to kill all open apps and you can also set up ATK to kill all apps at periodic intervals. Some people will argue that task managers are irrelevant and unneeded in Android, but I still prefer to use ATK.

3. Dropbox

Dropbox is a great cloud service that automatically syncs a folder of files between multiple computers (Windows, Mac, or Linux). This app extends Dropbox to Android and interacts with other apps (such as Documents To Go) to open the files. It allows you to access PDFs, image files, and business documents by simply dragging them to a folder on your computer and then you immediately have access to them from your mobile phone, once you have this app installed.

4. Evernote

Once you get used to typing on a virtual keyboard (and it honestly took me over a year to do it), then these devices are great for note-taking, and Evernote is a great note-taking app. It is similar to Dropbox in that it saves data locally but syncs it across all your machines and devices.

5. Taskos

There are plenty of to-do apps to choose from on Android but I now prefer Taskos because of the clean, easy, Android-friendly user experience. It also has a few extras that give it an advantage over apps. The biggest one is voice recognition, which lets you speak a task that the app turns into a to-do item (you might have to correct a word or two).

6. DroidAnalytics

For some reason Google doesn't have an official app for Google Analytics (for either Android or iPhone). The best one I've found on Android is DroidAnalytics. Another good one is mAnalytics.

7. Documents To Go

The free version of Documents To Go offers a great little reader for Microsof Word and Excel files. You can upgrade to the full version (for $15) if you want to be able to create and edit files and add PowerPoint files to the mix. If you do want editing capability, I'd also recommend taking a look at QuickOffice.

8. Google Docs

If you mostly work with Google Docs (including uploading Microsoft Office files to your Google Docs repository) then the only app you'll really need is the Google Docs app. It's a nice mobile implementation of document management, although the one annoyance is that always open up files in a web browser rather than within the app itself, which would be a little smoother.

9. Tripit

I dig Tripit. It is by far the best app I've found for keeping track of all my travel itineraries. It runs on some great backend systems. You simply forward your confirmation emails for your flights, hotels, rental cars, and more to Tripit and it automatically organizes them into trips with all your details and confirmation numbers. Or, if you use Gmail, you can even use a plugin to automatically catch confirmation emails and turn them into Tripit trips.

10. Places

This is an awesome app for finding shops and services near your current location. From restaurants to medical facilities to taxis, this app is very accurate and takes advantage of the business information from Google Local. This app is better than the info you get from a GPS unit (or app) and better than any of the similar apps available on the iPhone. It's also integrated into Google Maps.

(Continued on page 2; read the rest of the top 20)

About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).

5 comments
michaelallen0
michaelallen0

How about aspects of business management like CRM, projects, finances, etc? A worthy addition to this list is WORKetc. It's easy to use and consolidates multiple business management features capable of managing an entire small business (1-100 users). You can read about it here: http://www.worketc.com/small_business_management_software WORKetc puts CRM, project management, billing, support, and other tools into one collaborative suite. It's google apps integrated, and they just released iPhone/Android native apps. so you essentially have more than enough functionality to manage your entire business, and you can access it from your phone. There's also a Gmail contextual gadget that allows you to do things like attach emails to activities, create new activities, edit current ones, etc.

Akilestar
Akilestar

I feel like I saw this exact same list about two months ago...

davidmp
davidmp

My favorites are mSecure Password Manager and ES File Explorer

DrRoot
DrRoot

ATK aka Advance task killer is certainly one of my favourite apps, I must say its really handy and lets close apps on the go and un hog your device from clutter of many other apps.

sparky
sparky

My $.02: I've been using Sound Hound for a few months now. It has had 100% success rate for me. I'm impressed. As for your other selections, I agree with DropBox, Kindle, Advanced Task Killer and Speed Test - the ones I also have installed. I would recommend Lookout too though. Weatherbug and Pandora I also use on a regular basis.

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