Cell phones may never replace laptops or tablets for serious computing outside the office, but working on your phone is getting easier, thanks to a slew of apps for business users. Here are the top downloads for various phones.
TomTom's new GPS app provides spoken, turn-by-turn navigation and a business search tool. It integrates with your phone's contact list, providing quick directions to a client's office or sales call. Sorry, no traffic alerts.
Timewerks's built-in stopwatch helps you track the hours spent on a project and create client invoices. Integrate it with another app called Credit Card Terminal, which costs 99 cents, to process payments on the go.
LogMeIn makes your desktop appear on your phone's screen so you can check Microsoft Outlook messages, read Word documents, and even fire up your accounting program and add a new invoice.
This app lets you create multiple Excel-style spreadsheets, perform calculations, and copy and paste data (no graphs, unfortunately). You can even save a spreadsheet as an Excel file and open it when you get back to the office.
Avoid TWD (texting while driving) by using Jott to record voice messages. The app converts them to text and sends them to contacts. You can also use it to post updates on Twitter or Facebook.
COST: $3.95 per month
FileMaker's Bento app allows users to create expense reports, build task lists, or track things such as sales leads and vehicle maintenance on the go. Another plus: The app offers access to data on Bento's desktop software.
SugarSync lets you open and edit files stored on a remote computer, then sync the revised documents with the originals. You can also use the app to share files with colleagues.
COST: Free up to 2GB, then $4.99 per month and up
Gwabbit scans incoming e-mails for contact info in signature blocks, then parses the data and imports them into your phone's address book. It works on Black-Berrys with an operating system of 4.21 or higher.
COST: $9.99 per year
This app lets you process credit card payments by typing card details into your phone or by using a Bluetooth card reader, which costs $145.
COST: $19.95 per month, plus a $59.95 setup fee and up to 3.5 percent per transaction
MICROSOFT OS AND ANDROID APPS
Microsoft and Google are rushing to roll out more apps for phones that run on the Windows Mobile and Android operating systems. Microsoft just launched its own app store. Google is revamping its Android Market to make it easier to navigate. Here are the four best apps from the current offerings.
Microsoft Office Mobile One big upside to owning a Windows OS phone is this app, which gives you mobile access to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
Bonsai This simple Windows OS app lets you write reminders and task lists and check off completed items.
mShare Use this Android app to send files to another mShare user and archive them on a server long term.
EasyTranslator The ultimate travel accessory, this Android app converts words and phrases from English to French, German, Spanish, and 26 other languages.