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3/29/2012
01:20 PM
Kevin Casey
Kevin Casey
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10 Essential Android Apps For SMBs

No glitz, no glamour, just results: These 10 budget-friendly Android apps help SMB users simplify everyday tasks and power through to-do lists.




You don't need to look much past an app market's bestseller list for a reminder that consumers with nothing more than fun in mind can create a jackpot for app developers. Witness a recent check of the top paid apps on Android Marketplace--pardon, Google Play. The top three bestsellers are, not shockingly, games. Unless you use a rooted Android device or would call Beautiful Widgets a business app, the only legitimate business software to crack the top 10 this week is the full-license version of DocumentsToGo.

But if you run an SMB, you want the software that turns a phone or tablet into a business tool rather than a simple entertainment device. Android users no doubt already know the big names in work-related apps. If you use Dropbox, for example, you probably know there's a Dropbox app. Ditto other popular platforms such as Skype, TweetDeck, or Evernote. And that's not to mention all of the Google products like Gmail, Talk, and Maps that, of course, come preinstalled on Android devices.

But what about those unsung heroes, the less glamorous apps that simply help small and midsize businesses (SMBs) get things done on a daily basis?

These are the worker bees--straightforward apps for necessary, if not always enjoyable, business tasks. We collected 10 of them here, covering everything from expense reporting--hey, we warned you it wasn't going to be glamorous--to ensuring that your battery doesn't conk out on you at the worst possible moment. These apps help keep you connected and productive without much muss or fuss required.

Better yet, none of these work apps will cost you much, if anything: The total tab for all 10 would run you $14.95 on Google Play. That's not a particularly burdensome case to make from the total cost of ownership perspective.

With one possible exception, the general focus here is on smartphone apps. That said, many of these have their Android tablet counterparts, too. For example, FlightTrack Pro--friend of the SMB road warrior--is also optimized for Honeycomb tablets. No matter the form factor or device, each app shares a common purpose. To quote Cosmo Kramer: "TCB. You know: Taking care of business." Ultimately, if you're going to invest in mobility, that's what it's all about.

No doubt, you've got your own indispensible work apps. Share them in the comments here, and tell us how they help your SMB get things done.


If ever there was a business chore well-suited for mobile devices, it's expense reporting--why wait until you're back at your desk? Expensify lets you use its cloud platform for tracking and managing spending, receipts, mileage, time, and other related tasks while you are on the road.

Recommended Reading

Most Smartphones Lost At Night

Deadbeats 2.0: How SMBs Use Cloud To Get Paid

Android Devs Turned Off By Fragmentation

Anatomy Of An All-Cloud SMB

SMBs Use Gamification To Convert Fans Into Cash

iPads Don't Work For These SMBs

Windows 8: 8 Things SMBs Should Know

10 Android App Hidden Gems


The upside of mobility--you can work anytime, anywhere--can quickly turn into the downside if your smartphone suffers an assault from unwanted calls and text messages. Call Control acts like the big, bruising gatekeeper--it lets you easily block anyone from calling or texting you, and automatically bounces Do Not Call offenders.

Recommended Reading

Most Smartphones Lost At Night

Deadbeats 2.0: How SMBs Use Cloud To Get Paid

Android Devs Turned Off By Fragmentation

Anatomy Of An All-Cloud SMB

SMBs Use Gamification To Convert Fans Into Cash

iPads Don't Work For These SMBs

Windows 8: 8 Things SMBs Should Know

10 Android App Hidden Gems


Access your Windows or Mac desktop remotely from anywhere with your Android device. PocketCloud (free) is ideally suited for tablet users, for screen resolution reasons. The Pro version will run you $14.99--more than doubling our whopping $14.95 app budget--but will be worth it if you need VMware View support, tighter security, or multiple computer connections.

Recommended Reading

Most Smartphones Lost At Night

Deadbeats 2.0: How SMBs Use Cloud To Get Paid

Android Devs Turned Off By Fragmentation

Anatomy Of An All-Cloud SMB

SMBs Use Gamification To Convert Fans Into Cash

iPads Don't Work For These SMBs

Windows 8: 8 Things SMBs Should Know

10 Android App Hidden Gems


BlackBerry converts, email junkies, and other text-intensive users can super-charge their finger-tapping with the SwiftKey X Keyboard ($3.99) keyboard app. It corrects the problem of auto-correction--those annoying and sometimes embarrassing mistakes that can come about when you rely on the default settings. There is a separate version for tablet users, plus a free version if you want to test before buying.

Recommended Reading

Most Smartphones Lost At Night

Deadbeats 2.0: How SMBs Use Cloud To Get Paid

Android Devs Turned Off By Fragmentation

Anatomy Of An All-Cloud SMB

SMBs Use Gamification To Convert Fans Into Cash

iPads Don't Work For These SMBs

Windows 8: 8 Things SMBs Should Know

10 Android App Hidden Gems


Package Tracker Pro ($1.99) is a must if your SMB does a lot of shipping. This app enables you to track packages in a single, synced place and covers a wide range of carriers around the world. Receive notifications on your phone, send tracking info via email, modify a package's information, and more.

Recommended Reading

Most Smartphones Lost At Night

Deadbeats 2.0: How SMBs Use Cloud To Get Paid

Android Devs Turned Off By Fragmentation

Anatomy Of An All-Cloud SMB

SMBs Use Gamification To Convert Fans Into Cash

iPads Don't Work For These SMBs

Windows 8: 8 Things SMBs Should Know

10 Android App Hidden Gems


Turn your Android phone into a mobile scanner with Document Scanner ($3.98). Scan any document with your device's camera and convert it to a PDF; you can email it, or upload it to a variety of popular platforms like Google Docs, Box.net, Dropbox, or Evernote. There's a free trial available if you want to give it a field test.

Recommended Reading

Most Smartphones Lost At Night

Deadbeats 2.0: How SMBs Use Cloud To Get Paid

Android Devs Turned Off By Fragmentation

Anatomy Of An All-Cloud SMB

SMBs Use Gamification To Convert Fans Into Cash

iPads Don't Work For These SMBs

Windows 8: 8 Things SMBs Should Know

10 Android App Hidden Gems


Join.me (free), an Android app and meeting and screen-sharing service, lets you join meetings, see the moderator's screen, and chat with other participants from your phone. The screen-sharing feature can also come in handy in an IT-troubleshooting pinch.

Recommended Reading

Most Smartphones Lost At Night

Deadbeats 2.0: How SMBs Use Cloud To Get Paid

Android Devs Turned Off By Fragmentation

Anatomy Of An All-Cloud SMB

SMBs Use Gamification To Convert Fans Into Cash

iPads Don't Work For These SMBs

Windows 8: 8 Things SMBs Should Know

10 Android App Hidden Gems


Plenty of SMBs use Google Analytics to track website data, and the zero price tag is just one of the many reasons for its popularity. The ability to take that data with you on a smartphone or tablet is increasingly critical. Paid apps like Droid Analytics and Analytix are getting competition from a newer tool, gAnalytics. It's still in beta, but it's free--like Google Analytics. If you're a Google Analytics die-hard and haven't mobilized your data, try kicking this app's tires.

Recommended Reading

Most Smartphones Lost At Night

Deadbeats 2.0: How SMBs Use Cloud To Get Paid

Android Devs Turned Off By Fragmentation

Anatomy Of An All-Cloud SMB

SMBs Use Gamification To Convert Fans Into Cash

iPads Don't Work For These SMBs

Windows 8: 8 Things SMBs Should Know

10 Android App Hidden Gems




Globetrotting SMB owners and employees need real-time travel data, and FlightTrack Pro ($4.99) puts flight statuses, tracking maps, and other info at their fingertips. It covers more than 4,000 airports and 1,400 airlines, and will show alternate flights with a single screen tap.

Recommended Reading

Most Smartphones Lost At Night

Deadbeats 2.0: How SMBs Use Cloud To Get Paid

Android Devs Turned Off By Fragmentation

Anatomy Of An All-Cloud SMB

SMBs Use Gamification To Convert Fans Into Cash

iPads Don't Work For These SMBs

Windows 8: 8 Things SMBs Should Know

10 Android App Hidden Gems




The pitfall of app addiction: Draining your device's battery. Advanced Task Killer (free) lets you easily turn off any unnecessary apps running in the background to help prolong battery life. After all, mobility doesn't mean much if your phone is constantly plugged into the wall.

Recommended Reading

Most Smartphones Lost At Night

Deadbeats 2.0: How SMBs Use Cloud To Get Paid

Android Devs Turned Off By Fragmentation

Anatomy Of An All-Cloud SMB

SMBs Use Gamification To Convert Fans Into Cash

iPads Don't Work For These SMBs

Windows 8: 8 Things SMBs Should Know

10 Android App Hidden Gems

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