Best Android productivity apps

Productivity apps form the core of every smartphone experience. They are the reason that most of us invest in one, along with mapping and music. The useful apps available  are numbered in the hundreds, but these are the ones we think every mobile should have installed from day one. 

Everything from cloud-based document storage to handy office apps is covered here. Don't forget either, running Android means you get access to Google's entire infrastructure. This means the general email, calender and document experience should be a bit smoother, should you do the majority of your work using Google products.

Skitch

Skitch comes from Evernote, the note-taking application that has successfully bridged mobile platforms. It is an app that will let you annotate pictures with a range of options at your fingertips. From the outset you have three options: take a photo, open an image, or just start with a blank page.  If you've mastered taking a screenshot on your Android device (which some phones currently allow, but which will be much easier in Ice Cream Sandwich) then you can easily select a screenshot from your Gallery too.

As with any drawing package, Skitch then gives you a run of options for annotating your image. This isn't about image manipulation and isn't designed to let you edit photos, but will let you write and draw on them. So it might be something as simple as putting an arrow on a picture or adding text. You can zoom images to get to a particular thing you want to highlight as well as change the colour and size of the annotation. Skitch is just what we want from an app: simple, easy and fun, with a practical purpose. Read More

Market: Link

Price: Free

Rating: 5/5

 

Google Docs

Google's Docs app gives access to Google docs from your phone, and a few other treats along the way. Fire up the app and after a few seconds you’ll notice that if you already use Google docs all your documents are automatically synced in there and ready for you to use. It's a really nice touch and one that makes setting up a doddle. As long as you’ve already given your phone your Google account details, it will pass those to the Docs app and do the rest.

As you would probably expect from Google, the emphasis here is on simplicity. That means no flashy menu systems, no swirling graphics, just access to your files. The home screen offers shortcuts to all items stored in the cloud, collections, starred, documents, images, as well as text, spreadsheets, and presentations. Everything is saved to the Google docs cloud, presuming you are connected, meaning you can access it later from your computer. Read More

Market: Link

Price: Free

Rating: 4/5

 

Quickoffice Pro HD

Quickoffice Pro HD has been specifically designed for Honeycomb to take advantage of the operating system's features, such as the higher resolutions and bigger screen sizes - so is perfectly suited to the Honeycomb-flavoured Android tablets, such as the Motorola Xoom and Asus Transformer. And as it's an all-in-one office suite, you shouldn't need anything else. 

The new app will let you create, view and edit Microsoft Office files, including Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations, and access them through several cloud-based services, like Google Docs, Dropbox, Box, Huddle, SugarSync and MobileMe, or from an SD card in the device. There’s plenty more to Quickoffice Pro HD, including PDF support and superb integration with Honeycomb, which all adds up to an app that has the potential of doing away with the need for a computer and Microsoft Office altogether. Read More

Market: Link

Price: £12.59

Rating: 5/5

 

Pulse

Pulse is essentially a clever content-retrieval application with which you have full control over the content that you see. It relies heavily on the quality of the feeds that go into it and the results from different sources will vary accordingly. But Pulse is one of our top Honeycomb apps, if not the current top Honeycomb app, simply because it works beautifully on the large screen. Pulse divides itself into a number of different tab pages, starting with Top and Social and followed by additional pages that you can customise to your needs. 

Pulse offers several featured sites, but if you decide you want news from elsewhere, you can simply search for a feed by tapping in the site URL or a keyword. You can also add your feeds from Google Reader. It’s a slick, considered and useful application which really looks good on the big screen. It’s also free, which makes it that little bit sweeter and comes highly recommended if you are an Android tablet owner. Read More

Market: Link

Price: Free

Rating: 5/5

 

Picsel Smart Office

Yes, we know - there are a vast array of office suites for Android out there that we could have selected. But do you know how many of these apps have a novelty 3D gimmick attached to them? One, that's how many - and it's Picsel Smart Office that brings 3D to the office app party. While you might not see any need to have your Word or Excel spreadsheets in the third dimension, there is perhaps a call for 3D presentations. And, with the 3D option being anaglyphic, it means that you can grab a load of cheap specs and hand them out to your colleagues in the boardroom.

Apart from the 3D feature, this is a rather swanky little office suite, with full support for Microsoft Office files (.docx, .doc, .xlsx, .xls, .pptx, .ppt) PDFs and image files too. The UI is very swish, with a neon-blue demeanour and there's a good coverflow-style document viewer on board as well. Another handy feature is that when you're in a document you can click the "Flow" button and it automatically resizes it for your phone or tablet. Formatting options are all on board (and look just like their Microsoft equivalents) and once you get used to the gestures required to select text and begin editing, you'll be away. Read More

Market: Link

Price: £5.99

Rating: 4/5

 

Mint.com Personal Finance

Mint.com is all about your money - it’s a service which aggregates all your online bank accounts into one manageable place. Instead of having to log in to four different company systems, you enter all your details on set up and leave Mint to do the work for you each time you want to take a peep. It’ll deal with your savings, credit cards, mortgages and anything else you’ve got and put all of them and their transactions into one online statement. And, like all the best things on the Internet, it’s free.

The service uses bank level security and will also warn you if it suspects fraudulent activity on any of your accounts. But it doesn’t stop there: if you want to be super organised, you can create a budget. That’s because the website can categorise and display exactly what you spend your cash on. So, it’ll let you know just how much you waste on expensive take-out coffee. Off the back of that, you can make a new cashflow plan for yourself and the service will even make suggestions of where you can cut down your expenses. Read More

Market: Link

Price: Free

Rating: 5/5

 

Evernote

Evernote is a simple enough idea. It’s a cloud-based filing system for notes. It’s a giant, searchable, back pocket with dividers. The phone, pad or desktop app - however you want to use it - allows you to take notes as pictures, written notes, audio notes or you can just upload a file. You give each one a title as you do so and you’re welcome to tag them. Once you’re done, you hit upload and off they go into the cloud as if you’ve just attached a magical helium balloon. That’s probably how they’d show it in an advert, anyway.

While it’s a good service from a laptop, it really comes into its own on your mobile phone. You can take a photo of something you see that inspires you when you’re out on the hoof, or perhaps a Christmas gift idea or maybe just a ticket confirmation number or something that you’ll need later. It’s not hard to think of times where it comes in handy; you just have to remember that you have this service in your pocket in the first place. Best of all, of course, it’ll cost you nothing to try it out. Make sure you do. Read More

Market: Link

Price: Free

Rating: 5/5

 

Adobe Photoshop Touch

Adobe Photoshop Touch is essentially a scaled-down, tablet-friendly, version of the popular desktop software. Sure, there are other photo-editing apps in the Android Market, some of which won't cost you a penny - but none has that Photoshop feel and the tools that you've now become accustomed to for knocking up "hilarious" pictures of your pals in situations that weren't really happening.

One feature that we particularly like is the Scribble Selection tool which allows you to select parts of pictures that you want to edit - rather than having to carefully manouevre an outline. The merge tool also allows for some funky image manipulation and you can  add live content to your images using the camera fill feature.

Unlike your desktop version, Photoshop Touch isn't really interested in taking on huge files or RAW data straight from your DSLR camera. It is designed, as a tablet app should be, firmly with the web in mind. It is able to pull a photo from Google Images, Picasa, Facebook, your device's gallery, or the Creative Cloud - which is Adobe's storage portal for all of its apps and software. Read More.

Market: Link

Price: £6.99

Rating: 4/5

Dropbox

Dropbox acts like a personal FTP server that allows you to store files in "The Cloud" so you can share them easily with others or on your different devices. As with the iPhone offering, you'll be able to make edits to your files and sync them back to Dropbox, download files for offline viewing and upload files and sync them to your Dropbox.

HTC has taken Dropbox even further, incorporating the whole thing into its smartphone ecosystem. This means you get 25GB free Dropbox from the outset with every HTC phone. This is a hugely useful app for those after a bit of cloud based storage on the cheap. 

MarketLink

Price: Free

Rating: 4/5



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