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8/30/2010
04:00 PM
Jake Widman
Jake Widman
Slideshows

Best Mobile Apps For Busy Professionals

Today's smartphones have led to the development of hundreds of thousands of mobile apps. Apple's iPhone, RIM's BlackBerry and phones based on Google's Android all have access to extensive libraries of apps that you can download and install for our increasingly mobile world. When you're always on the go, having the right smartphone app makes it easy to transition from business to pleasure and back again without skipping a beat so you can get the most out of every minute. Here we pick 17 of the be




One of the first requirements for professionals on the go is that you know where you are and where you're going. Google Maps will not only show you the former, it'll tell you how to get to the latter. It comes preinstalled on the iPhone and is available as a free download for Android and BlackBerry.

Here we've collected 17 mobile apps that will serve any busy professional when they're out and about. These apps may not be purely business, but that doesn't mean they can't do something useful. Whether you need to buy movie tickets, find a restaurant or get home at the end of the evening, these apps will do the job. Most of the apps we've chosen are available for all three major smartphone platforms; in a couple of instances, there are minor difference between versions. On top of that, most of them are free. So download and get out on the town.

FURTHER READING:

How To Manage Mobile Devices

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Smartphone And Mobile Device Guide


How often does a song start playing and you say, "What *is* that?" All the time, right? Next time, just fire up Shazam Encore ($4.99, for all three platforms) and hold your phone up to the music, and the app will identify the song for you. You can buy the song right then or share it with others. No fair using it in pub trivia contests, though.

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12 Essential Android Apps For SMBs

Smartphone And Mobile Device Guide


Zipcar is the leading national car share service; members can reserve one of their fleet of cars and pick it up at a designated spot for temporary use. The iPhone app (free) lets you find available cars on a map or search for them by type of car or time available and reserve one. You can even make your Zipcar's horn honk via your iPhone so you can find it in a crowd.

FURTHER READING:

How To Manage Mobile Devices

12 Essential Android Apps For SMBs

Smartphone And Mobile Device Guide


Twitter and other social media updates are almost a requirement today and anything that helps streamline those updates save valuable time. Seesmic (free, for all three platforms) supports multiple Twitter accounts; the iPhone version supports not only Twitter, but also Facebook and Ping.fm, which in turn lets you update numerous other social networks at the same time, such as LinkedIn, Flickr, and Blogger. You can also send your tweets to Evernote to save them for later.

FURTHER READING:

How To Manage Mobile Devices

12 Essential Android Apps For SMBs

Smartphone And Mobile Device Guide


Your smartphone has a microphone, after all -- shouldn't you be able to use it without typing? With the Google Mobile App (free for all three platforms), you can just speak your search term to instigate a search. It's also location-aware, so when you're searching for nearby bars, it already knows where you are. You can also search email, contacts or any of Google's specific searches (news, shopping, etc.).

FURTHER READING:

How To Manage Mobile Devices

12 Essential Android Apps For SMBs

Smartphone And Mobile Device Guide


This was only available for Android phones until recently (now on the iPhone too), and it's free. It does visual search: rather than trying to figure out how to describe the thing you're looking at in words, just hold your phone up and take a picture. Goggles will try to identify the object and tell you what it is, plus return associated results. It also recognizes five European languages, so you can use it to translate a menu or sign if you need to.

FURTHER READING:

How To Manage Mobile Devices

12 Essential Android Apps For SMBs

Smartphone And Mobile Device Guide


Evernote is the mobile extension (free, for all three platforms) of the popular desktop application and cloud memory service. You can upload anything to Evernote -- photos, text, web clips -- tag it, and Evernote will remember it for you. On your phone, you can photograph a person, a business card or a poster, or make a sound memo, and add it to your collection, where it will be available from any computer -- or another smartphone.

FURTHER READING:

How To Manage Mobile Devices

12 Essential Android Apps For SMBs

Smartphone And Mobile Device Guide


Box.net lets you share and sync files to the cloud, and the mobile apps (free for iPhone and BlackBerry) let you not only access them but also share them with others by sending them a link. They can upload files to it too. Box.net is free for personal use, with up to 15 GB of storage and a 25MB file size limit; paid plans are also available.

FURTHER READING:

How To Manage Mobile Devices

12 Essential Android Apps For SMBs

Smartphone And Mobile Device Guide


Tools to turn what you say into text are very useful when your phone is your digital workspace. With Dragon Dictation (free for the iPhone), you can speak to create text files, write emails and send tweets and Facebook updates. With Dragon for Email (free for the BlackBerry), you can dictate emails right. With either, you can speak the contact's name and the subject line, as well as dictate the text. Both are powered by Dragon NaturallySpeaking, the well established speech recognition technology.

FURTHER READING:

How To Manage Mobile Devices

12 Essential Android Apps For SMBs

Smartphone And Mobile Device Guide


One of the nice things about having a mobile phone with you is the ability to find and connect with friends that are also out on the town. With Foursquare's "check-in" function, you can record where you are and add a comment. You link the app (free, for all three platforms) to your address book and Facebook and Twitter friends, and then you can see where they've recently checked in. You can also view others' comments and suggestions for places near you.

FURTHER READING:

How To Manage Mobile Devices

12 Essential Android Apps For SMBs

Smartphone And Mobile Device Guide


Of course you need to stay connected to Facebook to let everyone know what you're up to. You can access Facebook through your device's browser, but it's quicker and more direct to use the Facebook app (free, for all platforms). Note that the BlackBerry version is actually made by RIM and is less highly rated than the iPhone and Android versions. But a recent update has improved it, and it should continue to get better.

FURTHER READING:

How To Manage Mobile Devices

12 Essential Android Apps For SMBs

Smartphone And Mobile Device Guide


Pandora.com lets you create your own personal radio stations by "seeding" them with particular songs or artists. The app (free, for all three platforms) brings your radio stations to your mobile device, so you can keep listening on the go. Note: the single-tasking model of the iPhone means you can't listen to Pandora while using other apps.

FURTHER READING:

How To Manage Mobile Devices

12 Essential Android Apps For SMBs

Smartphone And Mobile Device Guide


Skype is the way to make phone calls all over the world. It's free to call other Skype users and at low rates to numbers outside the Skype system. Rates are the same whether you call landlines or other mobile phones, and they don't count against your wireless minutes. It's free for the iPhone and for certain BlackBerry and Android phones on the Verizon network.

FURTHER READING:

How To Manage Mobile Devices

12 Essential Android Apps For SMBs

Smartphone And Mobile Device Guide


Time to catch a movie after work? Fandango (free, for all three platforms) lets you speak to search for movies or theaters, and use the phone's GPS to find events near you. Once you decide where to go, you can also buy tickets over the phone.

FURTHER READING:

How To Manage Mobile Devices

12 Essential Android Apps For SMBs

Smartphone And Mobile Device Guide


When it's time to head home, you don't want to spend a long time waiting for a bus. The NextBus service provides real-time updates on not just bus and subway schedules but also on the location of the next bus and how long it will take to reach your stop. The service is available in many cities via a browser, but it's more convenient to have a direct app for it. For Android, you can get AnyStop (free) for many different cities, all powered by NextBus. There's a NextBus DC app for the BlackBerry and the iPhone ($2.99 each); we can only hope that developers for those devices will get on with building it out for other cities.

FURTHER READING:

How To Manage Mobile Devices

12 Essential Android Apps For SMBs

Smartphone And Mobile Device Guide


Do we really have to explain what IMDb is? It's the vast database of information about movies, TV shows, actors, directors, plots and anything else you need to know. If you're trying to remember "you know, that movie with that guy who was in that other movie about the giant ants," IMDb is your resource. The IMDb app (free for iPhone and Android) gives you direct access to that information.

FURTHER READING:

How To Manage Mobile Devices

12 Essential Android Apps For SMBs

Smartphone And Mobile Device Guide


Trying to figure out where to eat? Urbanspoon (free, for the iPhone and Droid and Nexus One Android phones) calls itself a "restaurant slot machine." Just shake the phone to spin up a restaurant near your location. Not quite right? Set the neighborhood, kind of food, or price you're looking for, and shake again. Before long you'll be happily sitting down to a good meal.

FURTHER READING:

How To Manage Mobile Devices

12 Essential Android Apps For SMBs

Smartphone And Mobile Device Guide

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