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Business Apps to Boost Your Productivity

As a post-PC world unfolds, business executives are turning to a growing array of mobile business apps to increase productivity and collaborate more effectively.

Here are six apps that clearly mean business:

Key Takeaways
  • A growing array of mobile apps can help you increase productivity and collaborate more effectively.

  • Many business apps can help you boost your productivity - log handwritten notes, share documents across multiple devices, manage projects and to-do lists, share contact information and simplify travel expense tracking.

Targus iNotebook.

One of the problems with tablet devices is an inability to quickly enter handwritten notes. The iNotebook bridges the world of paper and pixels. This system includes a pen and a special notebook that holds a pad of conventional lined paper. When you write on the pad the same words and drawings are sent to your iPad via a Bluetooth Connection (you can also use your finger to scribble directly on the iPad, though this approach isn’t likely to produce optimal results). The iNoteook app—which includes an audio recording feature and annotations—makes it easy to e-mail notes or stow them in Dropbox. The app also lets you display notes on a TV or projector. $180.

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CloudOn.

Alas, Microsoft Office applications still aren’t widely available for iOS or Android devices. Although alternative apps exist, they typically suffer from limitations. Even Microsoft’s Office Mobile app is limited to users who subscribe to their Office 365 platform. CloudOn actually hosts Microsoft Office, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint, on the cloud. You work on documents in the native applications. No less important: it connects to Dropbox, GoogleDrive and SkyDrive accounts. This makes it simple to store, retrieve, edit and share documents on multiple devices. Free.

Things.

This industrial strength but easy-to-use task manager not only helps you sort through the daily crush of to-dos, but also manages projects and other events on your iPhone or iPad. Things includes searchable tags that help you find entries and information quickly. What’s more, its cloud-syncing feature ensures that new items and any changes appear on other devices automatically. There’s also a Mac version of the program. iOS version: $19.99. Mac version: $49.99

Shred the paper jam and take control of receipts with a clever app that streamlines expense reporting.
Evernote.

Think of Evernote as the Swiss Army knife of apps. It lets you capture a dizzying array of documents, files, photos, web pages and audio recordings—and store everything in a single place where items are easily viewed, retrieved and shared. This makes it easy to manage a project, keep travel documents together and handle sundry other tasks. Evernote offers versions for iOS, Android, Mac and Windows. It syncs data across devices and works offline. Basic version: free; premium version $5 per month or $45 per year.

Bump.

This handy app that initially launched in 2009 creates digital business cards that you can easily share. When you gently “bump” two smartphones together, you trade contact information, files and photos with others. You can then import the data into your address book on an iPhone or Android device. Remarkably, Bump also transfers photos to a computer when you tap the spacebar with the phone. Free.

Expensify.

Let’s face it, the bane of all professionals is keeping track of expenses. It’s a time-consuming hassle. Expensify shreds the paper jam and lets you take control of all the receipts with a clever app that streamlines expense reporting. You scan all the paper and upload and sync receipts with QuickBooks, Salesforce and other applications. You can also file receipts in folders based on projects or trips and submit a report with a tap of a button. Finally, the app helps you track business mileage and offers analytics tools. Basic version: free. Professional, Team and Corporate versions vary in cost up to $11 per submitter per month.

Samuel Greengard is an award-winning business and technology writer whose articles have appeared in AARP: The Magazine, American Way, Discover, EdTech, Industry Week, Workforce Management, Wired, and many other publications.