5 Underrated Business Apps for Android

The Android Market is filled with amazing apps. From games to news and weather to sports to business apps, there’s something for everyone. On top of that, new apps are added daily, expanding the available options even further. With so many options available, the question becomes “How do I find the best Android apps?” Sure, there are plenty of top 10 lists out there, but generally speaking they all list the same apps! So how do you find great Android apps that have yet to make the popular top ten lists? Let us help with 5 handpicked underrated business apps for Android!

1. Locale ($9.99)
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As far as apps go, Locale is on the higher end of the price spectrum – but don’t let that deter you. This amazing little app is able to manage settings based on conditions. How exactly does this work? Quite simply, actually. You setup one or more conditions that must be met, then tell Locale what you want it to do once those conditions are met.

The value of this app really sinks in when you start exploring various setups. For example, you can program the app to set your phone to vibrate if your location matches that of your office and the time is between 8am-5pm. Or have Locale turn off WiFi and Bluetooth and dim the screen when your battery hits 30%. The options are expansive and expandable. In fact, Locale states that there are over 140 plugins available in the Market, many interacting with other 3rd party apps as well! With so many plugins available, you can set up Locale to fit your specific needs. After a few days of using Locale, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

2. 1password (Free)
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1password securely stores your private information from 1password for Mac or PC. While the app currently requires the use of 1password on the computer to be of any use, the ability to store your passwords, credit cards, and other account info on your Android device is well worth it. Plus, you can use 1password to login to websites, saving you from typing long or complex passwords on your mobile keyboard.

While this app is somewhat limited in it’s current form (you cannot add/edit information from the app), the developers have a long history of providing quality software. You can be sure that this app will continue to get better and better!

3. LinkedIn (Free)
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This is an app that may be a little too new to be considered underrated, but it’s worth mentioning all-the-same. For the longest time, the only way to access LinkedIn on Android outside the mobile browser was to use 3rd party applications. Recently, LinkedIn decided to change that. Their entry into the Android Market brings all the great features you’d expect from an official app. The interface is smooth, clean, and straightforward. Adding new connections is quick and easy. All in all, it’s a solid way to access the business-focused social network while on the go.

If there’s one area it could improve on, it would be to simply bring more of the desktop experience in to the mobile app (e.g. letting users view sent messages, etc). That said, it’s safe to expect those things will come in time. In the meantime, we recommend grabbing this app today!

4. Document Scanner ($3.98; free trial version available)
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As its name implies, Document Scanner allows you to virtually “scan” documents with your Android’s camera. With tools allowing you to correct perspective, crop the background, and enhance readability, Document Scanner is a powerful business tool. After scanning one or more pages, the app allows you to email the document off as a PDF or upload it to Google Docs or Evernote.

The concept is really quite simple, but when you are on the go, the ability to scan a receipt for expense tracking or email a copy of a signed contract to a client is incredibly convenient. That’s why we’re confident in saying this app is well worth the asking price.

5. Lookout Mobile Security (Free; premium version available for $3/month)
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Lookout Mobile Security may be the least “underrated” app we’ve mentioned. That said, we’re constantly finding people who’ve never heard of it, so it’s well worth mentioning here. Think of Lookout as the security guard for your Android phone. Lookout adds another layer of security to your phone by providing antivirus/malware functionality to the Android OS. It takes security a step further by incorporating a “Find My Phone” feature that helps locate your device if it’s ever lost or stolen. Finally, it provides peace of mind by securely backing up data from your phone.

If you have information on your Android that you’d rather other people not get into, or if you want to install new apps without having to worry about vicious malware or viruses, Lookout Mobile Security is the clear choice!

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Do you know of an Android app that deserves to be listed here? Let us know in the comments!

Be sure to check out our list of Underrated iPad Apps and Underrated iPhone Apps as well!

Palm OS Lives On Android

What do you miss the most about Palm OS?

The date picker?
Password protection for Memos, Tasks and Contacts?
Categories that worked across all your data?
Memos that you can attach to Contacts, Calendar and Tasks?
Custom fields for your Contacts?
Handwriting recognition?
Simple, monochrome display?  (We need to have a chat if you pick this!)

The first five on the list were things that we at CompanionLink absolutely could not do without. Chances are, as a business user those five factor somewhere into your list too.

The first Android G1 device that landed in 2009 was an experiment to whet the appetites of the Internet-connected masses. That phone, and the flurry to follow it, were social devices aimed at the consumer – a volley from Google to Apple in response to the revolutionary iPhone. But what about business professionals accustomed to the productivity of Palm OS?  Business users were making do with these new, non-business toys. They were great at handling games, music, video, pictures, and social media. What they didn’t care too much about was productivity akin to Palm OS.

We created DejaOffice for this very reason. We wanted to harness the power of these new, non-business devices and channel it into real mobile productivity. Palm OS productivity, more specifically. We’ve done just that. Look at the list at the beginning of this post again. The first five items were integral parts of many Palm OS users’ workflows. DejaOffice brings these items back to life on Android devices. By doing this, we are extending productivity tools you need to get work done on the go!

5 Underrated Business Apps for the iPhone

Recently, we posted “5 Underrated Business Apps for the iPad” Today, we’re doing the same for the iPhone!

Since the opening of the iTunes App Store, great iPhone apps have flooded market. With tens of thousands of apps available to download, finding the best ones has become a bit of a chore. There are site and blogs that try to help by highlighting the best of the best – apps like Evernote, Dropbox, and Bump, for example. The problem is, the list is almost always the same! So, how do you find the great apps that aren’t featured on the top 10 lists, but are still worthy of a spot on your iPhone’s home screen? Let us help, with 5 handpicked underrated iPhone apps for business productivity.

1.  CardMunch (Free)
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How many times have you collected a stack of business cards at a networking event or conference, only to lose them in a desk drawer without ever entering them into your phone? If you’re like me, too many times! It has become somewhat of a chore to enter all the details from a card into your phone. That changes with CardMunch!

CardMunch allows you to take a photo of a business card, then submit it to their servers where it is transcribed by real people and sent back to your phone, ready to add to your address book. The whole process takes anywhere from 5-15 minutes and definitely beats adding them all in manually. CardMunch even has a 1-tap follow-up feature that sends an email to your new contact with your info attached. Staying in touch couldn’t be easier! And since LinkedIn recently purchased CardMunch, it’s 100% free to use. So go download CardMunch and get all those business cards converted today!

2. RedLaser (Free)
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RedLaser is arguably the most accurate barcode & QR code reader available for mobile devices. This free iPhone application allows you to quickly do a number of things. The most obvious use is to scan an item’s barcode to get more information, pricing, and availability. This proves especially useful when shopping for high-priced items, as you can easily learn if it’s available elsewhere for less. Another great use is to scan multiple items in succession, then email the results off to yourself or someone else. This is a great way to remember what items you looked at while at the store and an amazingly easy way to send off a shopping list to whoever does the purchasing in your company.

RedLaser can also scan QR codes. As these becoming increasingly popular, the ability to quickly and accurately scan these codes on your phone becomes very important. With RedLaser, doing just that is incredibly simple. Put simply, this is an app that everybody should have on their iPhone!

3. JotNot Scanner Pro ($0.99)
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JotNot Scanner Pro turns your iPhone into a scanner. Simply snap one or more photos of a document and let the app process it into an easy to read PDF, which you can share via email, print via AirPrint, or save to Evernote, Dropbox, Google Docs, and more. For a little extra ($0.99 for 5) you can even send your scanned document via fax! The genius behind JotNot Scanner Pro is that you don’t have to carefully line up the photo. You can simply snap a quick shot at an angle, and then use the app to put it in the right perspective. It’s really something you need to see to understand how well it works!

The only thing that would make JotNot Scanner Pro better is some sort of OCR (Optical Character Recognition) so that we could edit documents after scanning them. Still, when you need to digitize a document quickly, JotNot Scanner Pro is a great way to go!

4. TeuxDeux ($2.99)
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TeuxDeux is beautiful in its simplicity. With a highly minimalistic interface, this app lets you keep track of your todo list. For those of us who don’t need tags, categories, and other advanced features, TeuxDeux is perfect. The iPhone app syncs up with its free web-based counterpart, allowing you to access your todo list just about anywhere. Additionally, you are able to access multiple accounts from the app – perfect for those who want to keep their work and play lists separate!

TeuxDeux’s minimal approach goes beyond the visual design. Moving tasks is as easy as a drag-and-drop, and completing them is as simple as a tap. If you didn’t get around to a task that was due today, it will automatically be moved forward, reminding you each day until you complete it. Since TeuxDeux’s web interface is free, you can try its approach to task management before you buy the iPhone app. Unless you require the advanced features other task managers offer, I’m quite confident you’ll find TeuxDeux’s simplicity and design a refreshing change of pace!

5. Localscope ($1.99)
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Localscope is the easiest way to find out what’s around you. With Localscope, you can quickly learn about what’s around you, find businesses, hear what people are saying nearby on Twitter, and more. Search Google, Bing, Foursquare, Twitter, and Wikimapia, all from one app. Localscope does all this in a beautiful and innovative way.

Imagine you are at a conference. With Localscope, you can search nearby Tweets to see what people are saying, look up nearby coffee shops on Foursquare to find a great place to meet with new connections, or find a great steakhouse for dinner on Google. At the end of the day, Localscope does not do anything another app couldn’t do. What it does do, however, is offer a refined interface to search locally faster and easier than ever before. That functionality is well worth the $1.99 asking price.

 

If there’s an app that you think deserves to be on this list, let us know in the comments! And be sure to tune in next week for 5 Underrated Business Apps for Android.

5 Underrated Business Apps for the iPad

There are many popular business apps for the iPad – Evernote, Dropbox, and QuickOffice Connect to name a few. Chances are, you’ve heard of most of these. If not, definitely check them out now. Of course, these are just a few of the many, many apps available in the App Store. So, how do you find great new apps that haven’t made it onto the top 10 list, but are still worthy of a place on your iPad’s home screen? Let us help, with 5 handpicked underrated iPad apps for business productivity.

1. Dragon Dictation (Free)

This simple app allows you to do one thing, and do it quite well! With Dragon Dictation, you don’t have to deal with the iPad’s touch keyboard or haul around a Bluetooth keyboard. You simply speak, and Dragon Dictation takes care of the rest. Your spoken message is converted to text, where you can make any quick edits needed and e-mail it off to your work computer for the finishing touches.

The trick to the app’s high level of accuracy lies in its connection to Nuance’s servers. As such, you do need to be connected in order to make use of this app. That minor detail aside, once you start using it I’m sure you’ll find it hard to live without! Download Dragon Dictation for free.

2. ReadItLater ($4.99, universal)

ReadItLater allows you to save websites and articles for reading at a later date. There are a few ways to really take advantage of this app. Using a bookmark or browser extension on your computer, you are able to save articles to ReadItLater, which then get synced to your iPad. With a quick review before heading out, you can even save select articles for offline reading – a great way to stay productive while on a flight! Alternatively, you can make us of ReadItLater’s integration in other apps or via a bookmark in Mobile Safari to save articles for review on your desktop.

Any way you use it, ReadItLater is an essential tool for those who need to digest large amounts of reading material on a daily basis. Download ReadItLater from the App Store!

3. Popplet ($4.99, Free Lite Version)

Popplet is almost too new to be considered underrated, but I couldn’t ignore this great little app. Popplet is web service and iPad app that gives you a virtual “whiteboard” for organizing thoughts, brainstorming and mindmapping, planning projects, creating process charts and diagrams, and more all in a simple to use, collaborative environment. It’s fast, user friendly, and it looks good. While it’s still a fairly new service, it certainly has a lot of potential and will undoubtedly help you be more productive on the go.

Learn more about Popplet at their website and download the app here.

4. iTeleport: Jaadu VNC ($24.99)

iTeleport lets you access your computer from just about anywhere. Simply launch the app on your iPad when you’re connected to the internet and you’ll be able to actually control your computer right from the screen! iTeleport works with Macs and PCs, and has been designed specifically with the iPad’s touch interface in mind. With such instant and easy access to your computer, your iPad becomes much more powerful as a productivity tool.

In the world of App Store prices, $25 may seem like a lot, but the benefit that this app brings far outweighs the initial cost. Head on over to the app store and download iTeleport for yourself.

5. Air Display ($9.99)

The iPad is a great tool when you are out on the go, but how can you make it useful even when you’re at your desk in front of your primary computer? The answer is Air Display. Air Display lets you use your iPad as a wireless second monitor. The extra screen space allows you to constantly keep tabs on your inbox, to-do list, calendar, or whatever you choose to display, all while keeping your main desktop free of clutter! Not only that, but Air Display actually lets you take advantage of the iPad’s touch screen as a secondary input device as well.

Air Display works on both Mac & PC. Check out the requirements, learn more, and download the app today.

Is there an app that you think deserves to be on this list? Let us know in the comments!

The Extinction Of Computers As We Know Them

The only constant is flux.  Nowhere is this more true in today’s world than in mobile technology.  Recently, Motorola released the Atrix 4G phone.  A unique and widely promoted feature of the Atrix is its new “docking” system. This system sows the seeds for yet another paradigm shift in the mobile world.  As if the iPad wasn’t enough.

Imagine this:

The alarm on your phone wakes you up for work.  You jump into the shower and have your phone read aloud the contents of your new email while you bask in the warm water.  You know which emails you can knock out with 140 characters or less.  Your list of 30 emails dwindles to 15 by the time you finish your commute to the office.

In the office, you dock your phone to the peripherals.  Using just one cable, perhaps utilizing Intel’s Light Peak technology, you are able to dock your phone to your office monitor, keyboard, and mouse.  All the apps you need for work are there.  Email, calendar, docs, tasks, notes, file browser, online storage, and more – readily accessible on the device you already carry with you every day.

While working on a new proposal, you get a phone call from your client.  Your screen informs you who it is, and you accept.  While on the call, you are able to refer to files relating to the client, make notes, schedule meetings, and more.  When you are finished, you disconnect, and your previous workspace is restored, exactly as it was prior to the call.

At the end of the workday, you undock your device, put it in your pocket, and go home.

You check email once more before you go to bed.  Instead of pecking at the virtual keyboard on the phone, you dock your phone to your monitor, keyboard and mouse at home.  After responding to an email or two, you undock the phone and head to bed.

You get the idea.

With this paradigm shift, the phone has replaced the laptop.  You have a palm-sized device with multiple CPUs, adequate graphics prowess, robust storage, unlimited entertainment and productivity apps, and the ability to conveniently dock to any set of peripherals, anywhere you are.

It is simply a matter of time before your “pocket computer” becomes your only computer.

DejaOffice 1.10.6 Now Available In The Android Marketplace

We are happy to announce the release of DejaOffice v1.10.6 for Android. This update follows a series of beta releases and brings numerous additions, improvements, and bug fixes to DejaOffice. Major features introduced in DejaOffice v1.10 include:

  • Added DejaToday widgets
  • Added support for recurring tasks
  • Added Global search
  • Added DejaExpense mini-app
  • New PalmOS style date picker
  • Major calendar UI improvements

Of course, there are even more great features, improvements, and bug fixes included in 1.10.6. Over the next week or so, we’ll be highlighting some of these features in blog posts, explaining how to get the most out of each new feature. In the meantime, be sure to go download the latest version today!

The Motorola Atrix 4G – Phone, Media Center, & Laptop

Image credit: AT&TThe Motorola Atrix 4G, the phone that won widespread admiration at CES 2011, was released to the public on AT&T’s network yesterday. To say that this is just another Android phone would be an understatement. In addition to being one of the few phones to support the new 4G networks, the Atrix features the unique ability to transform itself into a powerful media center or laptop via a series of peripheral docks.

The multimedia dock is more play than work, allowing users to easily connect their Atrix to their TV and enjoy videos, music, and more. While that is likely to be a popular feature among home theater enthusiasts, I’d like to focus more on the second docking option: the laptop dock. The laptop dock allows Atrix users to connect the phone to a lightweight laptop frame. This then runs a “web-top” application, allowing users to harness the productivity of the laptop form, all from their mobile phone. In theory, this could drastically improve your productivity on the go. While you don’t save much space when compared to carrying around a phone and tablet/small laptop, you do benefit from having everything easily accessible on one device. It may sound like a small thing, but it can have a huge impact on your mobile productivity!

The laptop dock is something we have not yet seen from any other mobile phone, and it certainly has the potential to change the way we work while on the go. However, it remains to be seen just how well it works in the real world. Initial reviews generally praise the phone, but suggest skipping the laptop dock. They state that, while the concept is widely adored, the actual application is a bit clunky and too expensive. That said, this is merely version 1. The technology has a lot of room to advance, get faster, and come down in price.

With tablets already changing they way we work on the go, do you think the unique docking features of the Atrix have a chance to put a dent in the popularity of the tablet? Or will they simply manifest as marketing gimmicks that ultimately die out?

Note: Are you looking to sync the Motorola Atrix 4G with Outlook or another popular personal information manager? We have you covered: check out ComplanionLink for PC and DejaOffice for Android!

Sync Salesforce CRM to Android, iPhone, and More

Sync with SalesforceI have big news for Salesforce.com users looking for a way to take their data with them on the go. CompanionLink Professional now offers two-way sync between Salesforce CRM and Android, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, webOS, and Windows Phone devices. Contacts, calendars, and tasks are all supported.

While we’re excited to offer this great feature across all our supported devices, this is especially good news for Android users. Salesforce does not currently provide a sync solution for Android. This limits mobile productivity for a growing population of the smartphone market. With CompanionLink Professional, Android users can be mobile with their Salesforce data in a matter of minutes.

In addition to supporting Salesforce sync, CompanionLink Professional also supports sync with multiple devices (think phone and tablet) and real-time sync between two databases (think Salesforce and Outlook).

CompanionLink Professional is available via CompanionLink.com or the Salesforce AppExchange. Visit these links for more information, Salesforce user reviews, and a 14-day free trial.