Marvels on your mobile
March 23, 2010
These business apps may save time and money, writes Lia Timson.
So many apps, so little time. With more than 100,000 mobile phone apps on the iTunes store alone, plus thousands more in other online marketplaces, it’s no wonder many go unnoticed by mobile workers. We’ve compiled a list of business applications to help you work better and faster.
Business Card Reader
For iPhone ($7.99) and BlackBerry ($11.00)
By SHAPE Services
This is the top-paid business app on Apple’s App Store and it’s easy to see why. It’s easy to use and mostly accurate, depending on the type of card scanned. Some useful features include the correct recognition of work, mobile and fax numbers, a LinkedIn button to automatically add a contact’s profile and the option to merge with existing contacts. It promises to work in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish but we know it copes with Portuguese as well. Unfortunately, it doesn’t recognise Asian languages, making a big mess of Chinese and Japanese cards. This card reader uses ABBYY text-recognition technology (ABBYY makes its own app, which is available also for Nokia phones).
For iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows (free)
This app is free for existing customers of the popular Salesforce.com customer relationship management service. It is designed to allow users to tap into their CRM without being tied to their desks. It pulls the mobile phone into the integration loop, even allowing calls to be logged. Users we spoke to were very pleased to have the application at their fingertips and being able to work offline when phone reception wasn’t so great.
For iPhone (free)
This app actually does wonders to simplify the LinkedIn user interface, which has become more cluttered of late. Connections, reconnections, profile and discussions are all better handled from the iPhone screen than the desktop. There’s been talk of a BlackBerry version but at time of writing that wasn’t yet available on the BlackBerry App World.
For iPhone ($100)
This is the top-grossing app on the Australian App Store but that is not a guarantee of popularity in itself as it is one of the most expensive, too. However, it does save you money as you avoid a stand-alone GPS and still benefit from turn-by-turn spoken instructions, which aren’t available on Google Maps. It installs the maps on the iPhone 3GS, so you can navigate without mobile signal or eating into your local or roaming data plan. It’s particularly useful when travelling on business to unknown destinations. You’ll need a car charger, though, as this app drains the battery without mercy.
Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite
For iPhone ($12.99). Also variants for Symbian, BlackBerry andPalm OS
This app has won a number of awards for allowing access to Microsoft Office applications from non-Windows mobile devices. It also connects to cloud services such as Apple’s MobileMe and GoogleDocs. It claims to facilitate file transfer via Wi-Fi, too. It’s in the top five paid apps on the iPhone and has enjoyed mostly rave reviews. If you must use Windows at work, this allows you to combine it with (iPhone) pleasure.
For iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and Android (free)
By Sabre Inc
Frequent business flyers can’t leave home without this app. It tracks travel bookings, alerts you if your flight is running late, allows add-ons such as hotels and car hire and even tells you about waiting times at customs and your flight’s luggage carousel. It was developed by the people who provide the airline booking systems, so you can count on it as much as you can count on the booking. US travellers are crazy about this app and we can see why. It works just as well for Australian flights. Oh, did we mention you can add other people as "connections" so they can see if you’re on time?
iAnywhere Mobile Office
For iPhone (free)
This is an app for enterprise users on Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Domino who prefer the iPhone to more traditional enterprise phones. It basically integrates it into the enterprise, allowing IT managers to manage the devices centrally. Includes push email notification, calendars, tasks, email-driven procedures, device data encryption and remote data wipe. Companies need to have iAnywhere Mobile Office server and licence already in place.
Sybase for SAP
For iPhone and Windows Mobile (free)
By Sybase and SAP
There are two different apps in this new release, which wasn’t yet up on the App Store or Windows Marketplace at time of print. The Sybase Mobile Sales for SAP CRM and Sybase Mobile Workflow for SAP Business Suite promise to open a mobile door to SAP systems already installed in the enterprise. The managing director of Sybase, Dereck Daymond, says the apps are the result of increased enterprise interest on the iPhone. Hopefully they’ll come up with a short app name soon.
For iPhone (free)
This app allows Yellowfin Business Intelligence clients to connect to the browser-based service on the go. It has been downloaded 10,000 times by users who can track KPIs, write and view reports and drill down into the enterprise’s BI data. The company will release BlackBerry and Android versions within 12 months.