Android Apps for On the Go
Back in February, I wrote a piece about getting the most out of your Android tablet. In that article, I briefly touched on a few floating apps, productivity, and getting things done on an Android tablet. I’d like to go a little deeper into that today, with a focus on how to get things accomplished while on the move – be it from your Android phone or tablet.
One of the key ingredients to getting things done quickly and efficiently from a mobile device is a good keyboard; whether you’re sending a text message or email, typing a word document, or just tweaking a spreadsheet, editing text shouldn’t be a frustrating experience. When it comes to getting text right the first time, I put my trust in Swiftkey on essentially every Android device I own. Its ability to anticipate the next word in a sentence is second-to-none, as it just knows what you’re trying to say; what’s even better is that the more you use it, the more it “learns” and predicts your next words. Pair that with an absolutely brilliant autocorrect algorithm and two methods of text input (a gesture method called Flow, and traditional touch typing), and you’ve got a fantastic keyboard that takes the frustration out of inputting text on a mobile device.
But that’s just the beginning
Aside from accurate emails and texts, users are oftentimes faced with Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, Powerpoint presentations, and the like while on mobile. Thus, a good office suite is an absolute must, and when it comes to editing docs on the fly, one name comes to mind: OfficeSuite Pro from Mobile Systems (trial version). Throughout my time with Android, I’ve used most of the top office applications found in Google Play, and OfficeSuite Pro remains my go-to. It’s chock-full of useful features, has a fantastic interface, and – my personal favorite – offers access to remote documents that can be found on Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, SugarSync, and Microsoft’s SkyDrive. This feature in itself can be incredibly useful for the professional on the move – just toss all your documents into one of the aforementioned cloud storage services and you have instant access – along with full editing capabilities – to all of your work files. Before writing full time, I did some work with the local school district and instead of going to my office computer to do paperwork, I used OfficeSuite Pro and Dropbox to do everything remotely, so I can attest to what a fantastic setup this is for real-world use.
Of course, with remote access to documents comes other issues. For example, if you’re pumping out a spreadsheet and need to make some quick calculations, it’s less than ideal to leave the app, fire up a calculator, and then jump back into the app – calculators are simple tools, so why not just have one right on top of the spreadsheet? Thanks to an incredibly handy app called AirCalc, that’s no longer an issue. AirCalc is a floating app, which means it runs atop other applications and always remains in the foreground while still allowing you to tweak the background application. This has proven itself to be an invaluable tool for me time and time again. That’s not the only floating app in my arsenal, either – OverSkreen, TinyApps, HoverNote, and LilyPad HD all come to mind, though most of them are far more useful on tablets than phones.
I’d be remiss not to add a bit more focus to one of the best productivity tools to come along in the last few years: cloud storage. Every major player in the cloud storage game (most of which I mentioned earlier) has its own app at this point, and most are highly usable. For the time being my go-to is still Dropbox, but with recent updates, Google Drive has really become a contender for a place to store all of my remotely stored files. It does hurt that Drive took the place of the now-defunct Docs, so it also includes its own built-in office suite for lightweight edits. For those who may not be entirely invested in Google’s ecosystem, however, Microsoft’s SkyDrive is also an excellent solution; while it doesn’t offer a built-in document editor on Android, it does play well with most office applications, and even offers access to lightweight versions of Microsoft Office in its web app.
Getting work done on the go isn’t easy
Sometimes emergencies happen and things have to be tended to in a pinch, and there’s no better way to do such than directly from your mobile phone or tablet. Knowing the right tools for the job is half the battle, so hopefully I’ve helped make the grind a little easier and less stressful with these particular offerings. Of course, these are just my personal picks for getting things done – if you know of a tool that wasn’t mentioned, or something else that’s simply invaluable to your 9 to 5, feel free to drop a line in the comments. I know I’m always on the hunt for apps that make life easier, and I can’t help but think I’m not alone in this.
Get the Android Apps mentioned in this article
|SwiftKey||OfficeSuite Pro||AirCalc||OverSkreen||TinyApps||HoverNote||LilyPad HD||Dropbox||Google Drive||SkyDrive|
Cameron is a die-hard Android fan and Senior Editor for Android Police. When he’s not on the beat covering all the happenings in the Android world, you can usually find him tinkering with (read: breaking) his mobile devices or spending time with his family.