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5/5/2014
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10 Mobile App Favorites For Business

We pick 10 compelling mobile apps of the moment for your work -- handy for everything from reminders to travel.

8 Gadgets For The High-Tech Home
8 Gadgets For The High-Tech Home
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Apple and Google each offer more than a million apps in the iTunes App Store and Google Play, respectively. The Windows Phone Store has about 250,000 apps, and more apps are released every day.

That kind of volume makes it difficult to find the gems among the dross. It doesn't bode well for developers, either: Earlier this year, Gartner predicted that by 2018, fewer than 1 in 10,000 consumer mobile apps will be considered a financial success by their developers.

Nonetheless, amid this abundance there's plenty of innovation. Here's our take on the 10 most compelling business apps at the moment.

1. Genius Scan (Free/$6.99) for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone
There are quite a few good scanning apps out there. Frankly, any mobile phone with a camera will suffice in a pinch. But Genius Scan does the job particularly well and comes with all sorts of useful features, such as image enhancement, PDF support, and exporting via email or (in the paid version) to cloud-based services.

[Are Twitter's best days behind it? Read Twitter User Growth Stalls.]

2. ETA ($1.99) for iOS
Google Maps and other mapping applications can predict travel times between two points, figuring in traffic delays. But ETA does so elegantly, with less effort, once it's set up. ETA also lets you track driving times (or walking times) to multiple locations. It's a simple idea, well executed.

3. Launch Center Pro ($4.99) for iOS
With Launch Center Pro, you can create shortcuts to features in other iOS apps. Contrast, the company behind the app, likens its software to speed dial for everyday tasks. The app allows you to set up a button to email or dial a friend, for example. It's not quite a full scripting system but it's a definite time-saver for tasks that might otherwise take too much tapping.

4. Rheti (private beta) for Android
Rheti is an app that lets you make apps. How cool is that? Very. It's what Launch Center Pro could be if Apple imposed fewer restrictions on what developers can do. It should be available shortly -- the company is promising a big announcement soon.

5. Duolingo (free) for Android, iOS, Web
Here's an elegant, fun app that can help you learn French, Spanish, German, Italian, or Portuguese. It doesn't cost anything but time and dedication. If you can spare those, you're sure to improve whatever language you're studying.

6. Refresh (free) for iOS
Refresh is refreshingly different from most intelligent agent software. It delivers just-in-time information that is actually useful. The app culls social media data about people you're going to meet and presents

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Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful ... View Full Bio

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jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
5/13/2014 | 10:12:21 PM
Re: Touchdown for Exchange
Good point about the constant improvements of the evolving operating systems.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
5/9/2014 | 7:04:18 AM
Re: Touchdown for Exchange
I have seen the Touchdown widgets, I liked Touchdown in general and used it until the Android Mail app improved enough that I didn't need it anymore.  The built in widgets and app caught up to the point that Touchdown was just redundant for me.  I think a lot of app developers need to be careful of this happening as the mobile OSes mature.
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
5/8/2014 | 9:16:18 AM
Re: Evernote
I haven't gotten into Evernote yet. Long before I had a tablet, I was using OneNote on my PC. Then, I started syncing it to my phone. Now, it syncs between my laptop, my Android phone and my iPad. We have other staff in the organization who swear by Evernote, though. I just haven't made a switch because I have so much history in my OneNote notebooks.
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
5/8/2014 | 9:15:09 AM
Re: Touchdown for Exchange
Touchdown supports multiple interactive widgets, as long as you're using the right version. The widget capabilities were delivered as part of Honeycomb, initially, and then as part of Jelly Bean on the OS side.
Travel_Pete
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Travel_Pete,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/6/2014 | 12:25:49 PM
Travel App/Site Of The Year: BestTravelCoupon.com
BestTravelCoupon.com is a "travel search engine" (similar to Kayak).  However, it searches more sites and consistently posts lower rates than Kayak.  The app also has a useful same day booking deal feature.

See rate comparisons of BestTravelCoupon on Travel-Search-Engines.com.  A very useful app/site for any business traveller.
SpokaneDude
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SpokaneDude,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/6/2014 | 9:49:15 AM
A very useful appointment manager...
SalonBook is a unique appointment manager.  It can manage appointments, clients and staff anywhere multiple persons are involved.  It has been used in Nail Salons, Hair Salons, Barber Shops, and other shops where several person's appointments need to be scheduled.  One user has even used SalonBook to keep track of her children's sports activities.  It has the ability to take images of clients and each appointment can have it's own image showing completion of the appointment activity.  It's available on the Apple Store for $4.99 USD.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
5/6/2014 | 7:21:24 AM
Re: Touchdown for Exchange
I used Touchdown with the very early versions of Android because the mail clients were horrible but in the past couple of years I have shifted back to the standard Android Mail app.  The only thing I miss is notifications for sub folders since I use Outlook to move specific messages but then again not getting 400 notifications a day on those sub folders is one reason I stopped using Touchdown.  The apps I use most often aren't even apps they are widgets.  My home screen includes a Mail widget as well as a Calendar widget so I can see my day at a glance.  
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
5/5/2014 | 4:35:56 PM
Re: Evernote
Agreed about Evernote. It's very useful.
SJohnston
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SJohnston,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/5/2014 | 1:54:57 PM
Evernote
I find Evernote incredibly useful for business purposes, being able to take notes on my laptop but have them synced to mobile devices is invaluable. 
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
5/5/2014 | 11:53:28 AM
Touchdown for Exchange
My all-time favorite app for Android is still Touchdown for Exchange by Nitrodesk. It is a full-featured Outlook-esque client for Android. The features far exceed the delivered mail and calendar app. The iOS version isn't quite as full featured, but is improving. A little pricey at $20, but since I live in that app during the day, well worth it.
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