Android

Five new Android apps that could help make your day a bit more productive

Jack Wallen highlights five new Android apps that might help to make your work day a bit more efficient.

New apps

I look at a lot of Android apps. Sometimes, I find apps that aren't worth the short amount of time that's required to install them. Other times, I come across absolute gems. So, without further ado, here some of my latest finds, out of which you'll certainly find something that fits for you.

1. FileThis

This app should be considered a must-have for anyone on the go who needs help organizing paperwork, bills, tax documents, orders, statements... just about anything. It helps you stay on top of your personal accounts and nearly any type of paperwork you can imagine. If you're looking to go completely paperless, FileThis might be the perfect app for you. It requires you to sign up for an account (the basic account is free) — and once the account is authenticated, you can create connections to various institutions, such as banks, utilities, retail, etc. (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A

FileThis running on a Verizon-branded LG G Pad.

Once you're connected, you can read statements, view bills, and more. This app makes going paperless incredibly easy.

2. Droid Automation

Here's another app that helps automate your Android device — without the steep learning curve found in Tasker. Simply create a profile, add tasks (Figure B), and then add triggers. The only caveat to this particular take on the automation task is that it's a bit shy of being automatic. You create a profile and then create as many tasks and triggers on that profile as you need. However, for that profile to actually be enabled, you must manually execute it — so, the "automation" title should be taken with a grain of salt. However, if you have repetitive tasks involving network, sound and media, display, configuration, etc., you can narrow that task to a single tap. You can also purchase the Pro version of the app for $3.49 (USD) to add conditions (such as location- or time-based) to the profiles that will make them automatic.

Figure B

Figure B

Droid Automation adding tasks to a profile.

3. Microsoft Outlook Preview

This app is Microsoft Outlook on Android. It's not new news that Microsoft was bringing their full Office suite to Android — and now you can kick the tires. If you're a fan of Outlook, you'll be thrilled to know the app is quite well done. It's all there — email, calendar, files, people... the only element missing is to-dos. Although I'm not a user of Exchange (and a fan of Google's Inbox), I can certainly see the draw of Outlook, especially if your business happens to use Exchange. If you like your email/calendar/contacts app all in one, happy place (Figure C), then Outlook will be the app for you. This app is free and works with Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, Outlook.com (including Hotmail and MSN), Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and iCloud.

Figure C

Figure C

Outlook Preview running on a Verizon-branded Droid Turbo.

4. Shyp

This app presents to you one of the easiest ways to ship on demand. At the moment, Shyp only supports San Francisco, New York City, Brooklyn, Miami, and LA. You take a photo of the item to be shipped, enter the destination address (Figure D), choose a shipping speed/cost, and request a pickup. Shyp then picks up your unboxed item, builds a custom box, packages, insures, and ships the item — all for $5.00 (USD), plus cost of shipping. That's pretty easy, especially when you don't have time to spend going to various shipping centers.

Figure D

Figure D

Shyp makes shipping as simple as possible.

Shyp is open seven days a week from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, and it offers on-demand pickup within 20 minutes.

5. CaastMe

This app does one thing — it makes it easy to share URLs between your Android device and your desktop. How this is done is simple: you install the app, open a web page on your mobile browser, tap the menu button, tap Share, and then select CaastMe (Figure E). Once the QR code reader is open, visit http://www.caast.me on your desktop web browser, and then scan the QR code. The URL currently on your mobile browser will automatically be opened on your desktop browser. There's nothing to the app, outside of adding a new entry to the share menu and a QR code reader.

Figure E

Figure E

CaastMe makes sending long URLs to a desktop browser simple.

Okay, I know it sounds like way too many steps when you could just type the URL in your desktop browser. This app actually comes in handy when you're dealing with really long URLs that you don't want to either have to type or email to yourself and then open within a browser. This is especially handy when you want to view the URL on a desktop browser that isn't yours (so you don't have to first log into your own email account to get to the address).

There are always new Android apps appearing in the Google Play Store. Sifting through the games, themes, wallpaper, and other less-than-productive apps to find the gems can often be an exercise in futility. I hope one of these apps can find its way onto your Android device and help you become more efficient or productive.

What are some of your favorite Android apps? Let us know in the discussion thread below.

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About Jack Wallen

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 jackwallen.com.

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