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Top free essential business apps for Android smartphones, tablets

What are some of the best, free business-related apps for Android devices on the market?

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Topic: Mobility
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1 of 9 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Social media, brand awareness

Not only are applications useful in maintaining personal business contacts and relationships, but they can also be used to connect with your customers and improve brand awareness. Across social media, apps including Hootsuite can be used to bring Twitter messages, contacts and feeds into one platform, whereas Seesmic notifies you across both Facebook and Twitter platforms. 

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2 of 9 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Document annotation

However, document storage facilities may not help when you need to annotate and share specific document types. PDFs, for example, are often used for contracts and reports, and if you need to check and sign these files quickly, a dedicated viewer is a necessity. A range of free apps are available on the market; for example, Foxit Mobile PDF is a handy reader and annotator for .PDF files, as well as .PDF creator CamScanner.

For more robust office suites that can cater for Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, consider Microsoft Office Mobile or Google Docs, Sheets and Slides

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3 of 9 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Account management

Whether you're running an SMB or need to keep track of your expenses to cash in later, you no longer need to rely on bits of paper and pen-and-paper records. Apps such as One Touch Expenser and Expensify can be used to take pictures of your receipts, store and organise them on a monthly basis, generate reports and record mileage. 

 

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4 of 9 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Timekeeping, task management

Timekeeping is an important element at every rung of the enterprise ladder, and there are a number of apps to keep you organized and aware of the day ahead. Consider Wunderlist and any.do for clean, simple to-do list and task organisers, as well as reQuall, which filters messages and emails to make prioritising during the workday easier. 

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5 of 9 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Document storage

Being able to view, save and store documents on the go is becoming more important in the business realm, especially with the explosion of mobile technology. Popular applications including Dropbox -- available in both free and premium versions -- are often used, as well as Google Drive, which allows users to edit, view, save and collaborate on documents.

For something more secure, consider using file lockers such as File Locker and RR File Locker ($2.99), which allow you to protect single files as well as folders and albums. 

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6 of 9 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

On the road

As the world becomes more interconnected and business deals take place not only locally but across different countries, a plethora of apps useful for the business traveler have appeared on the market. A handful of the most useful travel-related apps for business travelers are below:

Travel organisers: TripIt | TripAdvisor | FindPenguin

Taxi and transport services, flights: Uber | Flightscanner | Waze |

Local maps: Google Maps | Maps.Me

Local deals, discounts and events: Hotel Tonight | Laterooms.com | OpenTable

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7 of 9 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Collaboration, team management

Project managers who need to escape the office often need to keep tabs on their employees when out and about -- and if they cannot access internal networks or a company uses cloud-based collaboration software, apps which link a team together can prove invaluable. However, on the Android platform, these apps rarely prove to be free for more than one project or two. A reasonably-priced option on the market is Proworkflow for Android ($10 per user), which brings an interactive dashboard, collaboration, timesheets and reporting to Android devices.

However, if you need a free option, Project Schedule is a simple app which can make team tasks and management more streamlined. 

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8 of 9 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Networking

Everyone in business understands the importance of forging connections and networking, and in today's business environment, doing so online has become an important factor of maintaining business relationships. A number of apps are available to help you maintain your business relationships, including Meetup, which shows you local events taking place, LinkedIn, TwitterSkype and Scoutmob

In addition, the Yolu Card Reader scans, converts and stores business cards so you won't lose valuable contacts. 

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9 of 9 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Data protection

As cyberattacks gain momentum and become more prevalent -- impacting the business community more and more each year -- keeping your data secure from the bottom to the top and across both mobile devices and corporate networks is a necessity. In a world where many of us use the same passwords for multiple websites and accounts, as well as forget to enable even basic PIN protection on our smartphones, we should take better care to protect our data at an individual level.

Consider using AndroidLost, Smart Lock Free and keep a PIN number in place to improve individual security. 

 

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