Collaboration is the name of the game for many mobile business users. Thing is, sometimes it can be a challenge to find the right apps to help drive the task. And if you graze around the Google Play Store, many of the collaboration apps require expensive services. Fortunately, there are some apps available that won't break your bank or your brain.
Let's take a look at some of the better, affordable collaboration apps available for the Android platform and see if one of them won't suit your needs.
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It's an oddly named app, that's for sure. And the name might might conjure up images of Twitter. It should. Why? Because the functionality of Twoodo (Figure A) depends largely on hashtags. You create an account on the free Twoodo site (sign in with your Google account to make this much easier on yourself), install the Twoodo app from the Google Play Store, and then invite your team to join.
With Twoodo you can create tasks and calendar entries, have private and team chats, and much more. You can sync your Twoodo and Google Calendars to make this tool even more powerful. One word of warning: Twoodo doesn't play well with Android 6.0 at the moment. I was unable to get the app running on Marshmallow. If you're using Lollipop, on the other hand, it runs like a champ.
If you're looking to up your team chat game, Hivve (Figure B) might be a good place to start. Hivve is a free service (and app) that allows you to create specific groups designed for collaborative chatting. Hivve lets you create an organization and then create rooms within it. Once you've created your group (do this all on the Hivve website), you will find a six-digit invitation code that you use to allow others into the group. Give that code out to anyone you want joining your organization.
Once joined, members can start chatting. They can add video, images, and files to chats. And Hivve integrates with the Android notification system, so your team won't miss a beat.
Yet another oddly named app, Swoodle (Figure C) does an outstanding job of helping you collaborate with others on office docs, message with your team, share files via drag-and-drop, and communicate with voice and video chat. Swoodle might well wind up being your one-stop collaboration shop. It integrates seamlessly with Google Drive and lets you connect with DropBox, Box, and OneDrive for Business. You can add contacts from your contacts and suggested contacts or via email, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.
Chatting with team members is incredibly simple (you can even add files). Swoodle allows you to easily collaborate on documents, although it doesn't support Google documents, and even do video chat while editing. Swoodle is free and offers an outstanding, user-friendly interface.
4: OpenCore Text
If you're looking for a cloud-based collaboration tool, OpenCore Text (Figure D) could be the one. With this app you can share, store, and collaborate on docs, photos, videos, and more. You can set user permissions to viewer, manager, or collaborator and mark files for offline viewing and editing. You can also create folders on your account and share out only the folders you like with your team.
When you sign up for a free personal account, you get 2 GB of storage. This makes for a great way to test OpenCore Text to see if it's suited for your team's needs. If it works out, you can subscribe to a Team, Business, or Enterprise account. Find out more about each on their price/feature matrix. The one caveat is that OpenCore Text does not have a built-in document editor, so you'll have to have another app installed for this purpose.
5: Google Keep
You might be surprised to learn that it's not only possible to collaborate with Google Keep (Figure E), it's quite easy. You won't be collaborating with spreadsheets or any other Microsoft Office document, but you can easily collaborate on notes and lists.
All you have to do is tap on a note, tap the sharing icon, add a person to collaborate with, and tap SAVE. The collaborator will (obviously) have to use Google Keep. But at this point, they'll have access to the note and anything either party does will sync in real time. Clearly this is best suited for the quick-and-simple collaboration, but it works really, really well (and it's free).
Collaboration doesn't have to be challenging when you're mobilized. With the right tool, you can get things done simply and cheaply. Give these apps a try and see if they don't help you and your colleagues get things done.
Do you have a favorite collaboration app? Share your picks with fellow TechRepublic members.
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.