Although games, entertainment apps, and other consumer fare get a lot of limelight, there are also tons of great business apps out there for smartphones. These apps can help you manage everything from business travel to social networking, meet-ups with colleagues, Microsoft Office document tweaking, and much more, all while you’re on the go.
Here, in no particular order of importance, are ten of the coolest business apps available for phones these days. Most of these mobile apps are available for both iPhones and Android OS smartphones, except for Enhanced Email which is currently for Android only and Orbit Social Phonebook for Apple‘s iOS only; the Dropbox app adds RIM BlackBerries to the list of supported phones. To view screenshots for all ten apps, check out the images in our Display Gallery.
While you might not want to try writing a business plan on your smartphone, Documents to Go does let you create Microsoft Office-compatible Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files on your iPhone or Android OS phone, as well as edit them. You can also view Adobe PDF files while you’re on the go. It’s not the only office suite around for smartphones, but many users think it’s among the best.
If you want to share photos and office docs with other people in the cloud, or upload them from your phone for later retrieval from your office PC, Dropbox is one of a number of apps that can do a good job. Dropbox offers mobile apps for Apple iOS, Android OS, and BlackBerry OS, although its desktop apps for Windows, Linux and MacOS X are regarded as fuller featured.
Whether you’re traveling for business or just for fun, Kayak has produced an easy-to-use app that lets you save time on booking travel reservations by searching for hotels, flights and car rentals from your mobile phone. You can also book a place to stay. Kayak’s mobile app is available for both iPhones and Android OS phones.
4. Orbit Social Phonebook
More and more these days, people are communicating through multiple social networks for work as well as pleasure. Orbit Social Phonebook lets you organize all your contacts on Twitter, Facebook, email, SMS, and elsewhere from a single place on your iPhone. You can group your friends so as to control how frequently and how much you hear from them. You can even use another feature, inner circle, for containing your social circles.
5. Enhanced Email
Quantum Solutions’ Enhanced Email is a full-featured, but lighweight, email client that lets you access company mail from your Android OS phone, supporting multiple Exchange/POP/MAP accounts in a single app. The app is geared to BlackBerry phone users moving to Android OS in addition to corporate users wanting faster access to email.
Whether you’re commuting to work or you’re on a business trip in an unfamiliar city, Hopstop can help you decide whether it’s best to get to a specific destination by bus, taxi, or subway. You can even specify criteria such as “less walking” or “fewer transfers.” This app is offered for both iPhone and Android.
7. Google Translate
If you’re traveling internationally, Google Translate can help you to communicate in the local language. Available for both iOS and Android OS devices, this app provides remarkably accurate translations between something like 50 different languages, ranging from English and Spanish to Hindi, Basque and Haitian Creole.
If you’re heading to a trade show or some other industry event, Foursquare gives you an efficient way of hooking up with co-workers and business partners. Registered users of this mobile app for iOS and Android can connect with colleagues and update locations. Foursquare offers points for “checking in” at locations. Users can have their check-ins posted on Facebook and/or Twitter. You can also add “Tips” to venues for sharing with others, such as suggestions about great restaurants in the area.
A member of the Apple “App Hall of Fame,” Evernote is designed to let you take text, photo and audio notes from an iPhone or iPad and then autosynchronize the information with your Mac or Windows desktop. You can mark any of these notes as “Favorites” for quick access. An Android OS edition is available, too.
10. ScanBizCards Premium
What do you do with all of those business cards you collect when you’re on the road? ScanBizCards Premium, a 2011 Appy Awards finalist, lets you scan them in to your Android or iOS device, review and edit the results, and sync up the biz card images through the cloud to your desktop PC back in the office. Recent additions to the app include the ability to send a LinkedIn invite to a contact with a single click, plus direct export of cards to Salesforce.com as new leads.