Smartphone apps that need to be created in 2012

Jack Wallen provides his wish list of mobile applications that he'd like to see brought to life in 2012.

The applications found on the various marketplaces for smartphones have erupted over the last year. If you can't find what you're looking for, chances are it doesn't exist — that's right, there are applications that don't exist that should.

Here's my wish list of apps that should be created for smartphones in 2012. Some of these apps are pure fantasy, and some of them are ports of already existing applications.

Full backup: There are plenty of apps out there to back up SMS, contacts, phone logs, etc. What I want is an Acronis-like or Clonezilla backup that will create an image of my smartphone. With a tool like this, it would be simple to totally restore your phone (to your defaults, not factory defaults), as well as perform massive smartphone roll outs for a company. Screenshots for Android: Have you ever tried taking screenshots on a non-rooted Android phone? It's not a task for anyone without the patience of a saint and nerves of steel. To be honest, it's a real pain. If you have a rooted phone, this is a no brainer —  but most users aren't rooting their phones. The developers of Android really need to simplify this process. Calendar reminders: There are tons of calendar applications, and so many of them do a lot of things — but one thing few do well is reminders. What I'd like to see is an integrated calendar that will either place a phone call to you or text you with reminders. And, to take this one step further, I would like to be able to specify the phone number used for those calls/text reminders. Fall detection: This would be awesome. Imagine an app that could sense when a phone was about to fall. It would require some serious work and use of the accelerometer to detect if the phone is in a precarious situation — and, of course, the app would need to differentiate when the phone is in a purse or a pocket, so that it wasn't always going off. An app like this could possibly help you avoid accidentally dropping your costly handset. User block: I want to block people in every way possible. I want an application that will let me to block a user from calling, emailing, texting, messaging, or contacting me in any way via my smartphone. Allowing a user, with a single configuration option, to completely block an unwanted person on all levels would require full integration with the built-in contacts. QuickBooks: A QuickBooks smartphone client would certainly make things a lot easier for some users. I have a lot of clients that are always on the go and need access to the QuickBooks. Most of them run LogMeIn Ignition and then use their desktops, but from a smartphone, that's not a valid option (due to size constraints). The smartphone QuickBooks app would be a pared-down version of the real deal with basic functionality, so that users could enter and view data. Printing: This one is a challenge, because not all printer manufacturers are creating drivers for printers. But at some point, smartphones will have to build some form of printer functionality into the platform. Yes, you can purchase various applications that add some basic printer functionality to certain printers, but having the ability to print from a smartphone is eventually going to become a necessity. Let's build that into the system so it's well integrated. Claws Mail: I have yet to find a mail app on a smartphone that I like. They are all so limited and clunky. I want Claws Mail ported to Android. I would love to see it also ported to the iPhone, but that's a redundancy that Apple would never allow. Claws Mail is lightweight enough that it could easily fit on the smartphone platform, and it's flexible and powerful enough to appease power email users. Barcode Scanner: I know, I know... these exist. But what I want to be able to do is use a barcode scanner to work with inventory. Have the camera integrate into a barcode scanner that would be able to interact with, say, QuickBooks Point of Sale. You could walk around your shop, scan barcodes, and enter amounts to do inventory. Songbird: Although I hold some disdain for this app (for dropping the Linux version), it would be nice to have a music library application that was cross-platform, full-featured, and could play various file formats. The music players built into most smartphones just aren't powerful enough. And while the developers are at it, an EQ feature would be nice. Thank you. Abiword: I want a good word processor. Not a note taker, a cloud-based Google Docs app, or an MS Office-wanna be. I want a single-minded, easy to use, word processor. The most obvious choice for that is Abiword. Just make sure it doesn't lose the ability to save in various formats — otherwise, it becomes useless. OpenBravo POS port: I would love to see an Android edition of this tool that would allow the mobile client to easily connect to the server for the selling of goods or services remotely. There are security issues at stake here; but, if done correctly, this could be one heck of a deal maker!

I know that every smartphone owner has their own list of applications they'd love to see created. What about you? What applications are missing from the markets for your mobile device? Share your thoughts in the discussion thread below.


Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website

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