Business apps

Top ten business apps

Technology editor Marcus Austin selects his ten iPad and Android apps to help you save time, increase efficiency, and make more of your smartphone or tablet

1. Evernote (Android, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Phone)
Smartphones and tablets have removed the need to carry a notebook around. However, the disadvantage is that you end up writing a note on your device then forgetting it’s there, or forgetting which application you wrote it in. Evernote is a cross-platform solution that allows you to make notes and read them back no matter what device you use, from PCs and Macs to Android. You can also take pictures, collect web addresses, write text messages, doodle or leave audio notes, and synchronise them to all of your devices, then share them with colleagues in the office. In December 2012, Evernote’s developers are planning to launch Evernote Business, which will include all the features of Evernote and Evernote Premium, as well as new business-specific features.

2. Box (Android, iPad, iPhone, Windows Phone)
One of the problems of having so many different devices is that it’s difficult to remember which device you left a file on. Was it your desktop, your laptop, or your phone? Box eliminates this problem by enabling you and your colleagues to work on and share files in the cloud. Sophisticated file-sharing and security facilities in Box allow businesses to add forum-like running commentaries to any file, as well as restrict who can see and edit those files. This app is free for personal use up to 5GB. Business pricing starts at £11 per user/per month.

3. Hullomail (Android, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry)
Hullomail allows you to read and play your voicemails from your email, as well as read, play and manage your voicemails in the Hullomail app. The service works with most UK mobile operators and takes just a few minutes to set up. From the app, you can listen to your voicemails, from as far back as you want. You then choose to ignore or reply to a voicemail with an email or text, or simply call back with a click of a button. Hullomail is free with paid add-ons allowing group calling and text versions of voicemails.

4. HootSuite (Android, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry)
Keeping track of LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can be time-consuming. The constant changes to the stand-alone apps means you are forever trying to find out how to do today what you did perfectly well yesterday. HootSuite puts all your social networks in one easy-to-navigate system, one that works the same way no matter what the social network on which you’re reading or posting. HootSuite lets you post text, add photographs and shrink URLs, all with a few clicks, while its built-in analytics allow you to see at a glance just how popular you are. This app is free for up to five social profiles, while the pro version costs from $9.99 per month.

5. CloudOn (Android, iPad, iPhone)
CloudOn is the nearest you will get to having a mobile version of Microsoft Office on your Android or Apple device. This free app provides users will a full PC version of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel. You can create new documents with CloudOn or you can edit documents stored on your Box, Dropbox, and Google Drives.

6. Flipboard (Android, iPad, iPhone)
Flipboard describes itself as a social magazine. With this free app on your smartphone or tablet you can create a personalised magazine out of everything being shared with you. Flip through your tweets, Facebook newsfeed and Google+ circles, as well as photos from Instagram friends, videos from YouTube, and much more.

7. Readability (Android, iPad, iPhone)
Too busy to read while on your web browser? Save any web page to Readability and it will be automatically saved on your web browser, iPhone or iPad. Once synchronised on this free app, your articles will be there for you, whether you're online or offline. And if you like an article enough, you can use the built-in sharing support to post the article along with your own comments on Facebook, Twitter or by email to your friends.

8. Remember The Milk (Android, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry)
If, like us, your memory is getting hazier as you get older, then Remember The Milk is the app for you. This useful free app helps organise the things you have to do and the things you need to remember, and makes your to-do list available on any device that can browse the web. Remember The Milk also synchronises with Microsoft Outlook, Google’s Gmail and Calendar apps, as well as Twitter.

9. Google Translate (Android, iPhone, iPad)
Google Translate is a free app for Android and Apple iOS devices that turns your smartphone into an instant translator for more than 64 different languages. Type in the text that you want to say or that you need translating, click translate and, seconds later, a translation arrives on your smartphone. The app also allows you to speak the text instead of typing (limited to 17 languages) and will convert your translated text to speech in 40 different languages.

10. Expensify (Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone)
Expenses are a fact of life, and – like taxes – if you don’t keep on top of them you’ll end up out of pocket. Expensify allows you to catalogue every expense without spending time sorting through the receipts in your wallet or purse. It saves your expenses to the cloud, where they can be read on your desktop or laptop. You don’t even have to write anything down. Expensify allows you to take pictures of your receipts while the built-in SmartScan feature automatically grabs names and amounts from the receipt and enters them directly into the system. You can also keep tabs on how long you worked on projects – ideal if you’re billing clients by the hour or minute – and add mileage driven, either via your car’s odometer or using the built-in GPS app. Expensify is free for the first 10 SmartScans.

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John Carroll - Helping businesses achieve International success. Head of Product Management & International Business, Santander UK