10 Smartphone Apps to Help You Get Ahead
How to succeed in business? There's an app for that. If you want to be in career-competitive mode while mobile, here are 10 of our favorite applications for your smartphone.
When you traded up to your new smartphone, you vowed to use it for something besides Tap Tap Revenge and Bejewled, right? How’s that vow holding up?
If your downloading habits still trend more toward play instead of work, it’s probably time to mix it up a bit. Never before has so much organizing power and information been entrusted to the palm of your hand. And while Apple is the undisputed leader in this arena (its App Store has more than 100,000 different offerings), other cell phone, software and search companies have gotten into the mix now too, giving you compelling options for just about any next-generation smartphone you own. (And if you still have a “dumb” phone, skip to the end to see what apps are available to you.)
Want to be master of the universe? Start your reign by downloading these 10 applications:1. Dragon Dictation
No matter how skilled you are at typing on a touch-screen keyboard, you can still talk a whole lot faster. Enter Dragon Dictation, an app that uses incredibly accurate speech recognition to translate your words into text that you can paste right into your emails.
Gives you an edge by:Freeing you up from hunting and pecking so you can focus on your message
Price:Free 2. OpenTable
Never deal with a busy signal -- or a snooty reservation taker -- at a restaurant again. This app lets you make restaurant reservations at any one of more than 11,000 participating establishments throughout the U.S. and the world.
Gives you an edge by:Making client entertaining a snap, even in an unfamiliar city
Availability:Android Market, App Catalog, App World, App Store
If the idea of having real-time access to all your banking, investment and payable information sounds enticing, check out this app. With this one program, you’ll achieve financial omniscience.
Gives you an edge by:Freeing you from worry about overdrafts and missed bill payments
Price:Don’t worry, it doesn’t cost a mint. It’s free!
Remember how George H.W. Bush marveled at supermarket barcode scanners years after they’d been introduced? Imagine what he’d think of this app, which allows you to scan any barcoded product with your phone’s camera and call up comparison prices before you buy.
Gives you an edge by:Helping you save money on office supplies for your small business
5. Quick office
Create and edit Microsoft Word documents and Excel spreadsheets -- and with some phones, you can create PowerPoint presentations too.
Gives you an edge by:Saving you the trouble of powering up your computer to work on a document that needs minimal changes.
Availability:App Catalog, App Store, App World
Price (MSRP):From $9.99 to $30, depending on phone and functionality
Another sign of the newsprint apocalypse, this app provides instant access to 70 papers around the globe, from TheNew York Times to Le Monde.
Gives you an edge by:Providing international news and perspective without the need for you to haul six dozen newspapers in your briefcase
Availability:Android Market, App Store, App World
If your phone has a video camera, just point, aim and shoot to create videos you can stream and post to Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.
Gives you an edge by:Turning your phone into a videoconferencer capable of broadcasting important meetings and events to employees in remote locations
Availability:Android Market, App Store, App World, Ovi Store
8. Cheap Gas!
The name says it all, and in this economy, what sales executive doesn’t need to watch his petrol budget? Use the phone’s GPS to geo-locate the least expensive gas around
Gives you an edge by:Saving road warriors precious fuel dollars, not to mention the wasted time circling around in search of bargains
Can’t tear yourself away from your desk long enough to get to the gym? Then just close your office door, fire up this app and follow the picture instructions for more than 230 exercises. Also allows you to track your fitness progress and even upload your own exercises and photos.
Gives you an edge by:Offering instruction on the right way to work out and get in shape -- wherever you are
List lovers will think they’ve died and gone to heaven with this app, which allows you to keep a digital running list of your daily tasks. You can sync it with your calendar and set it to send you reminder notifications.
Gives you an edge by:Purging random slips of paper from your life and giving you at-a-glance access to your project priorities
Finally, if you’re employing a less-evolved cell phone (one lacking sophisticated iPhone-type apps), you too can now access programs that turbocharge your mobile’s intelligence. There’s a new-ish generation of hardware called feature phones (typically recognizable by their larger screens and touch-screen functionality) that are less expensive than smartphones but that can still do a few cool tricks. Look for feature-phone apps at Web such sites as GetJar, which offers roughly 60,000 applications for nearly 2,000 different phones. You can still improve your cell game, even with a cheaper model.