Executives on the go want to keep in touch in real time with their company and employees. The advent of mobile applications has made that a reality, allowing business owners and professionals to keep tabs on everything from expense reports to important documents to Facebook updates. So what are some of the best mobile apps for business leaders? Here are a few to get you started:
• BizExpense: This iPhone and iPad application helps keep track of expenses and scans receipts on the spot. You can then export the results to an Excel file so that you can sync-and-go at the end of a trip rather than spend the afternoon remembering business lunches.
Cost: Free for the light version of this application; regular version costs $1.99.
• Documents To Go: Ideal for iOS (Apple's mobile device software), Android, BlackBerry, Palm and Nokia users who need to review and edit documents such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF files.
Cost: Free; premium version, $29.99
• Dragon Dictation: This iPhone voice-to-text application allows users to dictate documents and paste dictated text into other applications. The Android equivalent to this app is called FlexT9.
• Evernote: Allows users to create voice, photo and text notes that are then shared with workstations. You can also access complex notes created on workstations through the iPhone.
Cost: Free version offers 40 megabytes of uploading per month; premium version, $45 a year and allows 500 megabytes a month
• Foursquare: Web-based and mobile application that allows registered users to connect with friends and update their location.
• LogMeIn Ignition: Allows users to access their desktop computer from their mobile devices.
• Scanner Pro: This app turns the iPhone's camera into a simple scanner for receipts, notes and document details.
• Skype: The instant messaging feature works on iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Palm devices and allows you to connect in real time with your team.
Cost: Free; premium version costs $8.99 a month (however, check the Skype website for lower offers).
• Social business apps: Users can create a private social network via Chatter (iOS, Android, BlackBerry) or via Yammer (iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile).
Cost: Free for both, but you'll need a Web account to use Yammer
• ThinkFree: Designed for Android and the iPhone, this application is a document management and sharing application for groups of people editing and revising documents. It offers Desktop, a set of Microsoft Office-compatible word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation tools.
Cost: Free for iPhone; $21.99 for Android
Andrea Siedsma is a freelance writer based in San Diego. To comment, email firstname.lastname@example.org.