Android Gets Into the Productivity-Enhancing Act
The Android OS is no slouch, especially for smartphone and tablet users who have a lot on their plates. Even as Apple and Microsoft tout their platforms' respective productivity-enhancing possibilities, Google's mobile OS offers a lot for those who need to get things done. Here are twenty apps that simplify life's mundane chores, so that users can concentrate on the more important stuff.
Leaving a large enough tip ensures great service the next time—a boon for movers and shakers for the succeeding power lunch, and solitary entrepreneurs building their online empires at their favorite neighborhood hangout. TipMeter costs less than a dollar, but the good will it facilitates can be invaluable. Users tap a button for every courteous action they experience, and the app computes a final tip figure based on the amount of service rendered. Definitely not for customers who live to make life hard for service personnel!
Download Mind Mender
Mind Mender presents a series of random tests to its users, all in the name of improving their brains’ functions. Conventional wisdom holds that regularly exercising your brain keeps in tip-top shape. Whether that’s scientific fact or a metaphorical assumption based on the proven relationship between exercise and muscles remains a matter contention. Yet it can’t hurt to put something you need every waking moment through the paces.
Download Titanium Backup
Titanium Backup promises comprehensive backups for your Android device. Computer users are always told to save copies of their most important data, so why shouldn’t that apply to mobile gadgets as well? Backups become even more crucial for smartphones and tablet PCs, as average users are more likely to entrust their most important data to them. This app allows the full backup of all software, device settings, and even Wi-Fi hotspot information. So even if disaster strikes, you can get back on track in no time at all.
Astro File Manager
Download Astro File Manager
Astro File Manager is a popular file manager for the Android OS. It makes browsing through all the files stored on the device—or any memory card plugged into it—easy. The app has won love for its advanced search features, a great tool for finding that important yet apparently inaccessible document. Need to file a specific file, created before a certain date, or below a certain size? Easy. Want to combine multiple files into a ZIP archive for easy sending to contacts? No problem. Users can also target specific file types, and save folder locations as bookmarks.
Download Missed Call
What if you could exercise detailed control over how your Android device notifies you of calls, texts, battery warnings, reminders, and the like? That’s exactly what Missed Call promises. It goes beyond mere vibrations and ringtones, allowing the customization how the LED light blinks—and even its color! Now users can rely on quick visual and sensual cues and determine quickly who's trying to get in touch with them. The app is so versatile that it’s literally limited only by what your gadget’s hardware is capable of—and any bugs, as the software is still in beta after all. Thankfully Missed Call comes with a backup feature that saves all your settings in case you want to try something new.
Download Smart Measure
Smart Measure uses your Android device’s camera and accelerometer to produce relatively accurate measurements of real-life objects. It estimates the height of objects in pictures using geometric algorithms, while relying on the accelerometer to detect the height of the camera of the ground (an important requirement for the computation’s accuracy). Smart Measure isn’t meant for pinpoint measurements, though it should prove useful for those who want a general sense of the size of what they see.
Download Toddler Lock
Toddler Lock takes a novel approach towards keeping valuable data beyond the reach of your young ones. After all, the last thing you’d want is your schedule messed up because of your kid’s natural (and welcome) tendency to play around with anything, right? The app adds an interactive lock screen to your Android device, meaning any underage person who gets their hands on the gadget will be too busy playing around with various shapes and colors. Curiosity is always a good thing, but sometimes it’s best to keep the divert attention away from crucial information.
Download Handcent SMS
Handcent SMS is an app that turbocharges your Android device’s texting capabilities. Its most basic improvement is an interface change that presents as “bubbles” within the same conversation, but there’s so much more than that. Aside from preset messages that users can send quickly for common situations (“in a meeting”, “will call back”, etc.), Handcent also supports SMS blacklisting and great search features. Last but not least, the app also handles MMS messages, making sending pictures and even videos a snap.
Bloomberg is the go-to source for investors, traders, and anyone else who makes it their business to know what’s happening on markets throughout the world. The app is a portable version of what’s available on Bloomberg.com, providing access to market quotes, customized news feeds, and a modifiable main list of select securities and stocks. Users can also create real-time performance chart widgets, keeping important info within a homescreen’s glance.
Wordpress is so much more than a popular blogging platform. It’s a pretty powerful content management system that makes updating websites with new content a relative snap—a reason why even major news organizations rely on the service. This Android OS app makes managing any Wordpress-driven site a snap. It lets users create and edit articles, user feedback, and other information that they want to share to their audience. It’s also possible to upload pictures taken with the gadget’s built-in camera.
Download Money Manager
Losing track of where the money goes is a common human frailty, one that Money Manager seeks to address. The app facilitates the prudent habit of tracking expenses and financial gains, letting users track their spending (and income) over time. Other useful features include transaction categorization, which helps you figure out just how much you spend on unnecessary extracurricular activities, and what source is responsible for much of your earnings. By relegating cash management into an automatic, secondary process, you can focus on doing the breadwinning-work properly.
Download Document Scanner
Need a quick scan of that important document? What if you want to share it with co-workers or higher-ups? Document Scanner takes photos of (what else?) documents for later retrieval. It converts everything it captures into PDF files for easy sharing with others. It can even turn a series of pictures into a multi-page electronic document, with each image presented as a corresponding “page”. And Document Scanner isn’t limited only to paper. Why waste time scribbling down notes, when you can just take a picture of each presentation slide for later referral?
Documents To Go
Download Documents To Go
No mobile productivity experience is complete without the ability to open and edit Microsoft Office files on-the-go. That’s exactly what Documents To Go makes possible for any Android OS gadget. The app can work with .doc, .xls, .ppt, and .pdf files. You can type out and modify reports, crunch the numbers as you receive them, and even finalize presentations with new information. Documents To Go won’t provide the same document creation experience found on a desktop or notebook PC, but it still features the most effective editing tools.
Why waste time figuring out how many miles are in a kilometer, when ConvertPad can do the relatively hard work for you? The app is your typical conversion utility, featuring lists of common units of measurement. Select the category (weight, length, speed, etc.), then choose which units you want to convert between. ConvertPad goes beyond the call of duty by letting users add their own custom measurement units—very useful for those who need currency conversions, for instance.
Here’s one feature Nokia deserves credit for (at least for popularizing it): silencing an incoming call on some of the maker’s newer models is a simple matter of placing the phone on a flat surface, face down. Flip2Silent brings the same functionality to any Android device—in case its manufacturer hasn’t integrated the feature into its product yet. When silencing that crazy ringtone only requires a simple, intuitive action, meetings and gatherings can continue with minimal disruption.
ActionComplete aims to solve all your time management and organizational skills in one fell swoop, featuring a package of sub-apps based on the popular Getting Things Done (GTD) method. The GTD system has provisions for task prioritization, scheduling, productivity focus, and the like. The only drawback? A notorious inability to work properly on Android OS devices without the official “with Google” branding slapped on.
Without a doubt, Skype is an important communications tool for any professional on the go. The VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service allows incalculable savings for teams coordinating their efforts, even if its members are based in different timezones. This app provides the same free Skype-to-Skype calls that are possible on desktop and notebook PCs, on Android devices connected to the internet. A word of warning though: make sure you chat and teleconference with your Skype contacts over a Wi-Fi network or an unlimited data plan, lest you find yourself with a massive bill come month’s end.
Download World Newspapers
Though the Internet is a great source of information, browsing through your favorite news sites on a relatively small screen can be a chore. World Newspapers pulls new content from a variety of sites, from mainstream staples like CNN, Yahoo News, the Wall Street Journal, to less conventional resources like Reddit. And true to its name, the app doesn't limit itself to American-based sources as well. You can even add your own favorite sites, so long as they have an RSS feed for this app to process.
At first glance, this notes organization app looks suitable only for students. But as a repository of notes on any conceivable subject, myPocketProf is a great resource of academic information. With curriculums changing from one school year to the next, this app will help users brush up on their industry-specific knowledge. This Android app also lets users enter notes into their Android device, organize them for later referral, and even sell them to students and other people looking for the advantage only timely information can provide.
Download QwikList Voice
The Android OS makes typing in text easy enough, but sometimes you won’t even have time to do that. QwikList Voice lets users add reminders, items to their to-do list, and many more simply by speaking into their Android device. Quickly set appointments and add important tasks by stating them out loud, before your multi-tasking memory forgets the details forever. QwikList Voice also uses the gadget’s camera to interpret barcodes for quick conversion into items users can add to their device’s organizer software.