Android is a good platform for getting things done, both on smartphones and the growing tablet segment. The key to productivity on Android and any platform lies in the apps available. There are a lot of Android apps, many designed to help users be more productive, but finding them can often be a burden. Here are five apps that will help most folks get more things done using an Android device.
1. Documents to Go. People need to work with documents all the time, and this app is as full of features as any. Docs to Go allows working with Microsoft Office documents, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. It has a good interface designed to make such work easy, and uses the small screen to best advantage. In addition to handling Office documents, Docs to Go can access Google Docs in the cloud, and also handles PDF files with good effect. Free version available with limited features, full version is $14.99.
2. Pocket Informant. Android has decent calendar and contact apps, but lacks in the native to-do list area. Pocket Informant is an app that handles calendaring and task management as good as anything available. The app can be configured to present calendars in any style desired, and the task manager can sync with the online service Toodledo. It takes a while to get familiar with all of the features of Pocket Informant, but once you do it is incredibly useful. $9.99.
3. Exchange by TouchDown. Some Android phones handle Exchange email well, but it's not uniform across the Android world. Exchange by TouchDown handles Exchange accounts very well, and many swear by it. The TouchDown solution handles the full spectrum of Exchange data: email, contacts, tasks, notes and even SMS syncing. There is a new tablet optimized version for bigger screens, requiring Honeycomb. $19.99.
4. Handcent SMS. It may be odd to find a text messaging app in a list of productivity apps, but texting has become a big part of my business communications. Handcent SMS is a great app as in addition to a full screen app, it also uses popup dialog boxes that appear on top of any other app. This makes it possible to read incoming SMS messages and reply to them without leaving the app that is currently open. The interface is highly configurable, and presents threaded conversations in an attractive view. Free.
5. Thinking Space Pro. This app may not be for everyone, but as a writer I am constantly outlining and mapping out writing projects. Thinking Space Pro makes this drop-dead simple with a good touch interface and an intuitive design. It is based on simple mind mapping techniques, but can also be used to create visual outlines for projects. £2.95.
Apps are a very personal thing and while these work for me they might not be the best fit for the way you work. If you have a favorite Android app for productivity please share it in the TalkBack so we can all check it out.