Heading out on the road? Be sure you have these critical business apps on your Android device
The native apps on Android smartphones, like Email and Calendar, are solid tools, but they don't do everything you need when you work on the road in terms of communications and time management. Fortunately, there are plenty of apps and add-ons that give any Android road warrior a real edge in both staying in touch and reaching out.
1. Conference calling: MobileDay
Keeping track of pending conference calls can be challenging while on the go. The free MobileDay takes the guesswork out of staying connected on the road by keeping track of your conference call schedule and dial-in numbers in a gorgeous, one-touch interface.
MobileDay syncs with your calendar, so there's no need to worry about missing a call or entering the wrong number, and it's compatible with many services, including GoToMeeting, Google+ Hangouts, Skype, and WebEx. It automatically adheres to your company's conference and international dialling rules, even routing your call through local numbers based on your location.
2. Conference calling: MobileMeet
InterCall's free MobileMeet is essential for both starting and dialing into conference calls on the go. Not only does it offer all the perks of the Reservationless Plus conference service, it also uses your phone's native functions to create a better experience: MobileMeet natively integrates with your calendar, pushing notifications to your device when someone enters the conference and before the start of the meeting, automatically generating meeting request emails and showing you who's in the meeting and who's waiting to arrive.
MobileMeet also lets you control of functions such as muting, disconnecting participants, and generating self-expiring passcodes for additional security.
3. Calendars: Business Calendar
The $4.99 Business Calendar Pro by Appgenix has become the gold standard for Android calendars, thanks to its ease-of-use, flexibility, and extensive compatibility. Business Calendar automatically detects any calendar account you have synced to your device and plots your schedules in a clean, color-coded view.
Casual users love its free version for its intuitive interface, gorgeous widgets, customisable themes, and fast, easy editing. Business users will love the Pro version's ability to automatically links events and appointments with their address books and to import and export calendars (without the need to link accounts) in ICS files.
4. Calendars: SmoothSync for Cloud Calendar
Few apps connect your iOS and Android lives, but the $2.86 SmoothSync for Cloud Calendar bridges the gap, at least in terms of your calendar. There aren't many bells and whistles, nor will the app blow you away with a shiny interface, but it does its job well. Simply enter your Apple ID and password to have Smoothsync automatically sync your iCloud tasks and events in separate, independent calendars in Android's native calendar.
Unfortunately, SmoothSync does not offer two-way sync, so your Google Calendar won't make its way onto your iOS device's iCloud calendar, though of course you can set up Google Calendar on your iOS device for it to appear in iOS's native Calendar app alongside your iCloud calendars.
5. Contacts: SmoothSync for Cloud Contacts
Just like its calendar counterpart, the $3.99 SmoothSync for Cloud Contacts offers a fast and easy way to sync your iCloud contacts with Android's Contacts app. It's lean, but it's effective, integrating your iCloud contacts directly into your Android device's address book. (If you want your Android's contacts stored in Google accessible to your iOS device, be sure to set up Google contacts in iOS's Contacts app.)
There are some funny bugs in older versions of Android, though, so check out the Google Play listing for safe and effective workarounds.
6. Contacts: CamCard
The days of collecting paper business cards are over. Enter the free CamCard, a powerful and extremely popular tool for the mobile worker. CamCard scans business cards and stores them in organised, searchable formats that are synced across devices with your CamCard account. Simply take a photo of the card from the CamCard application to have it do all the work for you. You can also share "augmented reality cards" -visually formatted versions - via email, QR code, or SMS.
7. Email: CloudMagic
Not only is the free CloudMagic one of the most capable email clients for Android, but it's also one of the most innovative. It's compatible with Gmail, Yahoo, Exchange, and just about any IMAP email server, and it offers multiple mailboxes in a single, clean interface.
But perhaps its most attractive feature is its "contextual card" concept, which integrates with some of the most widely used business tools. For example, the Salesforce.com card shows your Salesforce info for contacts and add emails and leads, while the Zendesk card lets you create and update tickets directly from an email. There are also cards for Evernote, Trello, and Mailchimp.
8. Email: Touchdown
For enterprise users tied to Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync, NitroDesk's $20 Touchdown is the email client to beat. It's secured with AES-256 encryption, and it can be managed by the leading mobile device management tools, making it the closest thing to your IT-certified desktop email experience. It supports push and HTML email, meeting responses, and out-of-office setup, while also offering powerful tools for your address book, calendar, task list, and notes.
9. Messaging: Cisco Jabber
Google's Hangouts is at the top of the Android messaging heap, but for business users not tied to a Google account, it's less than ideal. Enter Cisco's Jabber, a messaging app that taps directly into one of the most widely used office messaging platforms. (The client is free, but you need to run Cisco's Jabber server on the back end.) Unfortunately, it's compatible with only a few Galaxy, Nexus, and Xperia devices.
Jabber is flush with features, including instant messaging, voice messaging, and video calling, and it uses an office alias to keep your personal phone number and information private. It also offers one-tap access for creating a WebEx meeting when the WebEx app is installed on your device.
10. File sharing: Egnyte
Like Cisco's Jabber, Egnyte is the answer to native Android apps (in this case, Google Drive) that simply don't make the cut when it comes to enterprise security standards. Egnyte lets you store and collaborate on a wide range of file types securely from your Android device. It also supports local storage, so you can download files and work on them securely without a data connection.
The client is free, but the Egnyte service costs $8 per month per employee for 1TB of storage; $15 provides 2TB, custom company branding, and Outlook integration.
11. File sharing and editing: Kiteworks
Via the free Kiteworks app, Accellion's mobile storage service picks up where its competitors, including Egnyte, leave off: In it, you can create and edit Microsoft Office files on the go. Kiteworks can also view other users' activities in real time. The required Accellion service costs $15 per month per user for 1TB of storage.