As a platform, Android has been business-ready for quite some time. However, it's often difficult to find the right app to do the job. Considering how many apps are available in the Google Play Store, digging out the business-gems can be a long, involved process. With that in mind, I've developed a list of what I believe to be the must-have business-centric apps for your Android device.
There are plenty of cloud-based storage apps out there (my favorite being Ubuntu One), but few of them can hold a candle to the wide-spread support that Dropbox enjoys. Nearly any third-party app with cloud support works well with Dropbox. And since Dropbox is supported across almost every available platform, it makes perfect sense that this would be your go-to cloud storage app. Price: Free (unless you need more space for your account).
2. Kingsoft Office
My go-to mobile office suite for the Android platform is Kingsoft Office. With support for more file formats than the majority of other applications of its nature (23 different formats), Kingsoft Office can work with nearly any document. This particular take on the mobile office suite also has built-in support for many cloud-based storage services and offers one of the easiest-to-use interfaces. Price: Free.
If you're looking for the closest take on Outlook for the Android platform, TouchDown is the app you want. TouchDown can connect to your Exchange server and offers a single interface to access your email, calendar, contacts, and tasks. There are versions for both phones and tablets (if you're installing it on a tablet, be sure to install the HD version). What makes TouchDown better than the built-in email client (outside of the one-stop-shop approach) is all of the configuration options. If you're looking for an email app that can be set up to exactly fit your needs, TouchDown is the real deal. Price: $19.99 (USD), but you can give it a test run with their 30-day free trial.
4. ASTRO File Manager
There are many file managers available for the Android platform. Most of them are good, but ASTRO File Manager stands above the rest with the help of an outstanding SMB plugin. This plugins allows you to move files back and forth from a shared directory. Outside of SMB support, the best feature of ASTRO is the powerhouse search tool. It's fairly common to lose track of your files on your tablet or phone. With ASTRO's search, you'll be hard-pressed to lose a file on your directory structure again. Price: $3.99 (USD) for the add-free version.
The Locale app uses artificial intelligence geofencing algorithms to enable immediate location awareness. With the help of this, you can enable your device to act in user-configured ways when you enter a specific location. For example, you can automatically silence your ringer when you arrive at work, change your wallpaper based on location, turn on or off Wi-Fi without interaction, and so much more. You'll also find a vast repository of plugins on the Google Play Store to help you expand the feature set of Locale. Price: $9.99 (USD).
6. Google Drive (along with Quickoffice)
Nearly every Android user has a Google account. Most of those users actually take advantage of the powerful Drive feature. The best way to leverage Drive from your smartphone or tablet is to install the Google Drive app. This app allows you to create, edit, and manage your Drive documents. And if you need MS Office support in Google Drive, be sure to install Quickoffice. With this additional app, you can also work with those MS Office documents saved to your Google Drive account. Price: Free.
7. Splashtop Remote Desktop
One of the best ways to access your desktop remotely is with Splashtop Remote Desktop. The Splashtop app, with support for both PC and Mac, streams your entire desktop to your mobile device. It uses a proprietary protocol that can stream high resolution video in real time. The one caveat to using Splashtop is that you can't transfer files to and from the mobile device. Price: $4.99 (USD).
If you're looking for the easiest way to get information from business cards onto your Android tablet, CamCard is what you need. CamCard uses the device camera to scan the business card, and then it saves the information directly in Contacts. CamCard even allows for batch scanning, QR code scanning, and email signature scanning to make the process more efficient. Once you have a card saved on your device, you can share the contact information via email, SMS, and QR code. Price: $11.99 (USD), but there's also a free, add-based version with sharing limitations.
9. Cloud Print
When it comes to printing from an Android device, a really great app is Cloud Print. It allows you to print to any Google Cloud Print connected printer. Once it's installed, you can easily share images from apps like the Gallery directly to Cloud Print for easy printing. With a Cloud Print printer, you can send print jobs from anywhere in the world. Price: Free.
10. SignMyPad Pro
If you need the ability to sign documents on the go, SignMyPad Pro is the app for you. This tool even embeds the signers GPS coordinates for security. There's a free version, but the Pro offering has features most power business users will want, including red ink and location awareness. To use this handy app, simply open a PDF document (from email or Dropbox), sign it, and save it. You can also capture your signature using the optional magnetic stylus. Price: $19.99 (USD).
If you're looking for a solid stable of business-ready apps to cover most of your bases, these 10 should do the trick. Add these to the built-in tools and your Android mobile device will serve you well as your mobile office.Did you see your favorite business app for the Android tablet on my list? If not, tell us what it is in the discussion thread below.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.