In a recent article, Mobile Business Tools – Social Media Apps for Apple iPad, iPhone & iPod, I discussed the topic of Social Media/Networking applications that are available for download on the iPhone, iPad and iPod that can help you stay connected to your Social Media. There are thousands of other Mobile Business Tools available to you and can be found in multiple different application categories. Following is a guide to several of the more popular Mobile Business Apps that one can use when on the go, whether to make your trip easier or to take the office with you. Heed my warning though — once you start using this tools you will never know when to “go home!”
1. AroundMe – Free Application Created By Tweakersoft
AroundMe is located in the Lifestyle category and allows you to quickly find out information about your surroundings. This app is great and we use it all of the time. While it is not specifically a business app, and is quite useful in your personal life, when you are traveling and not familiar with your surroundings it provides quick, easy directions to find whatever you want. It identifies your position and allows you to choose the nearest Bank, Bar, Gas Station, Hospital, Hotel, Movie Theatre, Restaurant, Supermarket, Theatre and Taxi. You can even search by name for what you are looking for, making it essential for the business traveler.
AroundMe shows you a complete list of all the businesses in the category you have tapped on along with the distance from where you are. Once you find the listing you want, you can choose to see its location on a Map, view the route from where you are, add the information to your contact list or even email the information to a friend. You can also use the “Nearby” listing which allows you to find information using Wikipedia about what is around you.
This application is rated 4 out of 5 stars and comes in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish. The current version is 4.1.0, which was updated on September 14, 2010, is compatible with the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. However, if you own an iPod touch you have to remember that it doesn’t have a built in GPS and therefore it cannot locate your position accurately.
Some of what’s New in Version 4.1.0?
- Now full retina display is support.
- Added Ad-Free version: in settings you can buy an option that will remove the ads from the entire application.
- Twitter xAuth support.
- Restored integration with TomTom.
- New statistics (there is an option in preferences to opt-out).
- Support for iOS 4 multitasking.
2. CalenGoo (sync with Google Calendar™) – Created By Dominique Andr Gunia ($6.99)
If you have Google mail and/or a Google Calendar, then this app is worth every penny. I can’t function without it! This application, which is featured in the Category of Productivity, gives you a fast and easy way to access and modify your Google Calendar with your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. You do not have to have an Internet connection at the time that you use this app. The changes are saved and uploaded the next time you are connected using the cached data.
The calendar view is very similar to the web view of Google Calendar and the best part for me (since I have about 15 calendars between work, home life, reminders, etc.) is that the events are displayed in the same colors that you use in your Google Calendar. It also recognizes which calendars are visible and which are hidden.
Also similar to your Google Calendar, is the full month view. It can be zoomed and panned to quickly get an overview over the events of a month. It also works with your recurring events and even when you are offline or scroll far into the future, they are correctly displayed.
When you add new events to your Calendar, you can also use Google Calendar’s feature to invite people to events and see whether they have accepted, declined, given a maybe or has not answered at all. The person you invite will get an invitation email with a link to where they can accept or decline the invitation. CalenGoo also has the ability to sync with the task list that you created in Google Tasks. Tasks that have a due date are displayed on the corresponding days of the calendar and can be seen in the calendar views and in a list view. Your tasks are available to you even when you are offline. You can edit and add tasks and the changes will be synced with Google Tasks when you get online later. Finally you can increase the font size of all calendar views in the settings under “Settings”, “Colors etc.”.
This app has a consumer rating of 4 out of 5 stars. The current Version, 1.5.8, which was updated November 09, 2010, comes in English, French and German and requires an iOS 3.0 or later
Some of what’s New in Version 1.5.8?
- Added details button in search view: Tap the row to jump to the event’s date, tap the blue details button to open the event in detail view.
- Badge menu (choose between events, tasks or the current day for the badge on the app’s icon).
- Cancel/Save buttons in the edit view can now be swapped.
- Option to add a new task directly from the calendar view when tapping the “+” button (see “Settings”, “Tasks”).
- Bug fix: The country default for the first day of the week was computed incorrectly in 1.5.7.
3. Dropbox – Official Free Application Created By Dropbox
The Dropbox app is located under the Productivity category and allows you to sync and share your files from your computer to others computers using the Internet. You need to create a dropbox account online and download the the software to your desktop where you can then save your files including photos, videos, documents, and presentations into your Dropbox and access them from any other computer on the go. You can either download the application onto other devices and access it that way or you can log into the website and access the data there. Personally, I recommend the latter, especially when you are trying to access it across Mac vs. PC platforms.
If you don’t already have a Dropbox account, the app will allow you to create one for free. You only get 2GB of storage with your free account, but you have the option of upgrading your storage to up to 100 GB as a paying customer. Using your Dropbox app, you can save photos and videos taken with your iPhone’s camera to your Dropbox, including HD videos on your iPhone 4, share and send files via email, or copy and paste links to share with another app, export Dropbox files to other iPhone and iPad apps and “Favorite” files to download them for fast, offline viewing.
This app has a customer rating 4 out of 5 stars is designed for both the iPhone and iPad. However, you will need to download additional software onto your ipad if you wish to edit any of your documents using the iPad. The current version is 1.3.1, which was last updated on November 11, 2010, is available in English only.
We use Dropbox, but have noticed that it experiences cross platform issues that seem unresolvable. So as we continue our transition away from Microsoft operating systems we notice that documents loaded using a Mac are not always synched with computers running various Microsoft operating systems, and vice versa.
What’s New in Version 1.3.1?
- Persistent photo caching.
- PNGs and GIFs no longer JPEG compressed when viewed on device.
- Higher quality thumbnails on retinas devices.
- Improved scroll bar behavior & appearance in document viewer.
- OS 4.2 compatibility.
- Media player performance fixes, time remaining calculations.
- Better handling of partially downloaded favorite files.
- Properly handle the less common Office file type extensions (e.g., .PPSX, .XLSM).
- Re-enable selection of photos for upload across entire Photo Library.
- Stability improvements.
4. Google Mobile App – Official Free Application Created By Google
This app can be found in the Reference category. This has to be one of my favorite on the go apps. I particularly like the fact that the search feature is voice activated, and therefore can be used easily at a stoplight when driving and trying to find a specific location in a pinch. Plus you can quickly search the history for queries you recently performed and you can also search the contacts saved on your phone.
This App has a customer rating of 3.5 stars and also links to Google’s other applications. The current version, 0.7.1.5140, which was updated on November 10, 2010, is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. This application is available in English, Arabic, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish and Ukrainian.
Google Mobile App allows you to search Google quickly using your voice, pictures, and location. The Google Goggles feature uses pictures to search the web. Google Goggles recognizes things such as landmarks, books, wine, artwork, and logos. You can search using your voice by speaking your queries in natural language. Simply hold your iPhone to your ear and say your query. This function even knows to recognize American, British, Indian or Australian English accents. Finally you can search by “My Location” which eliminates the need to type in your current location when searching for nearby businesses.
What’s New in Version 0.7.1.5140?
- Bugfixes in Goggles interface.
- Camera flash animation when taking pictures.
- Various translation fixes.
5. WordPress – Free Application Created By Automatic
The WordPress app is listed under the category “Social Networking.” However, I feel it would best go under the Business or Productivity category. The current version is 2.6.2, which was updated on November 04, 2010 is compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad. You can use WordPress to manage your WordPress.com blog or a self-hosted WordPress.org site running 2.9.2 or higher. Using this app you can moderate comments, create or edit posts and pages, and add images or videos to your posts.
The average customer rating for this app is 3 out of 5 stars and is available only in English. The latest version claims to have been able to fix some of the issues that were blocking people from using the app, but warns that there are still a few more they are working on. The app now includes a crash reporter, so you still run into a bug, you can send information to the app creator to help combat those issues.
We had been using this on our iPhones, but earlier versions proved to be too buggy and after a while it became clear that it was frustrating and unproductive. With the new fixes we gave it another try, this time on our iPad. So far so good.
What’s New in Version 2.6.2?
- Fix for landscape orientation issue when editing posts.
- Fix for incorrect date/time on publish.
- Fix for sync issues when viewing posts.
- Fix for problems connecting to WordPress.org blogs using HTTP Auth.
- Fix for crash during Autosave check after publish.
- Fix for intermittent failures when uploading media.
- Fix for crash when editing WordPress.org blog settings.
- Improved HTML output for media uploads.
- Improved handling of XML-RPC endpoints for WordPress.org blogs.
- Improved UX when adding WordPress.org blogs.
- Added in-app crash reporting system.
- Added option to use HTML 4 tags when embedding video in a post.
These are just a few of the thousands of Mobile Business Tools apps that you can find for your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Some apps will work better than others for you depending upon what it is you wish to accomplish while you are on the go. Because the iTunes store is not organized by category in any orderly fashion, your best bet is to go to the app store on your mobile device and search for key terms on what you would like to accomplish. If you have other Mobile Business Tool apps that you use, feel free to send me an email and tell me what apps you use and how you use them. I will also be featuring an article on some up and rising stars in the Mobile app arena. Stay tuned!
Continue Reading —> Part 2 of Mobile Business Tools