Android Smartphone Apps Roundup January 2012 review

Photo of Android Smartphone Apps Roundup January 2012

Now that you are well into 2012, and have made your way back into working life, you may be wondering about your work/life balance. Anything that helps you retain a better one has to be a good thing, and there are plenty of Android apps that fit the bill. All of these help you to maximise time at work, and work well away from the office.

APP OF THE MONTH

Join Me Viewer

PRICE: £FREE

RATING: 5/5

LogMeIn Ignition has just gone free on the iPad, with premium services purchasable from within the app. On Android, things are a little different. LogMeIn Ignition is a paid app, but for free you can get the company’s join.me viewer. This is a great little screen-sharing tool. 

Does it sound like the app has nothing to offer for the remote worker? Think again. Join.me viewer gives you access to IM style chat and screen sharing with multiple people. So that you can review a document, watch a presentation and so on, wherever you happen to be. Of course, the larger the screen of your Android phone, the better, and you’ll need a reliable connection too.

Splashtop Remote Desktop

PRICE: £3.21

RATING: 4/5

Accessing documents on the go is one thing; accessing your entire home computer is something else. If the latter is what you need, then Splashtop Remote Desktop could be the app for you. We’re looking at the standard Android version here, but if you have an Android 3.x tablet, then you might prefer the HD version that costs £6.39.

You need to put install an application on your desktop to allow a ‘one to one’ pipe style connection, and you are likely to need to make some configuration changes to your router too. When that is done, you have full remote control and can remotely do anything you could do on your PC or Mac – as if you were sitting in front of the computer. Albeit, things can move a bit slowly thanks to the fact that you are miles away. 

Dropbox

PRICE: £FREE

RATING: 4.5/5

We know, we mention Dropbox a lot, but it really is a remarkable application with such a lot going for it. Sign up for a free web account and store files in your Dropbox, and they can be accessed from any device. 

The free client app for Android is crisply designed, making it easy to find documents. And of course, once you are a Dropbox user, it is possible to share folders and files with other users. If you need to work from home occasionally, put your office files in a Dropbox and they’re available when you want them. 

Google Docs mobile

PRICE: £free

RATING: 4/5

Google Docs Mobile is another app that can fulfil a wide range of functions. The Android client makes it easy to take advantage of what Google Docs has to offer, through an uncluttered user interface. 

If you’re working alone or as a part of a team, using Google Docs for work can make sense. You can edit documents on the go, making use of travel time to make important changes that your team can see instantly. And you’re not limited to editing. New documents can be created from scratch too.

Read It Later

PRICE: £FREE

RATING: 3.5/5

Less an app, more a way of life, Read It Later will soon makes itself indispensable. This is idea for anyone who finds they spend working time gathering useful snippets of information from the web, where there simply isn’t the time to read and digest it all. As it lets you save things you find on the web to, well, to read later.  

Plug-ins exist for the major web browsers, so you can mark content up for storage in your ‘Read It Later space’. However, it’s the Android app that we tend to like the most, because it lets you access all the stuff you’ve saved, later on. When you are on the train commuting, or find yourself between meetings, you can use the time productively catching up on that reading that you’ve saved. The free version provides enough functionality to get you hooked. The £1.82 version adds features like searching, sorting and tagging. 

ThinkFree Office Mobile

PRICE: £5.99

RATING: 4/5

There are plenty of choices when it comes to productivity apps that sit on your Android handset. We like ThinkFree Office Mobile in both its Android phone and Android 3.x tablet versions; the latter of which costs £6.14. For power users, there’s even a synchronisation feature so that anything you edit on the phone is automatically updated on the PC.

You can create, view and edit documents that are compatible with Excel, Word and even PowerPoint (though the latter is necessarily rather limited), and there’s a PDF viewer too.