20 Great Productivity Apps for Android, iOS, and the Web

These 20 essential apps work on all three platforms, helping you stay productive no matter what device you or your co-workers use

Android, iOS, and Web: 20 multiplatform apps for maximum productivity
Android, iOS, and Web: 20 multiplatform apps for maximum productivity

Man, the days of "Mac or PC" sure were simple.

It wasn't long ago that the only question you had to consider with compatibility was whether something would run on those two types of computers. These days, most of us interact with a multitude of devices and platforms, either on our own or as a result of our colleagues' choices, and finding productivity tools that work across them all isn't always easy.

When you stop and think about it, it's nothing short of a miracle that any service can provide a consistent experience on an iPhone, an Android phone, an iPad, an Android tablet, and any computer with a modern Web browser. Amazingly enough, though, such tools do exist.

We've tracked down 20 useful options to help you stay productive and in sync from one device to the next. Install them on your various computers and gadgets -- and get your co-workers to do the same -- and you'll be living in multiplatform harmony.

(Quick tip: If you don't have time to read all of this right now, skip to item 15. You're welcome.)

Google Docs
Google Docs

Google's free cloud-based office suite has come into its own over the past several months, with the recent addition of offline access across all platforms along with the ability to edit standard Word documents in their native format. Editing from the mobile apps is also now fairly full-featured, thanks to Google's integration of Quickoffice, a former third-party app the company acquired. Functions like find and replace, undo, and table creation are all available, as are a range of font, paragraph, and table formatting tools. Docs may not be the most robust standalone word processor on any given platform -- you won't find a way to measure word count on the mobile apps, for instance -- but if you’re juggling devices, it’s a solid option for getting the basics done.

App: Google Docs
Developer: Google
Category: Word Processing
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

Microsoft Office 365 / Office Mobile
Microsoft Office 365/Office Mobile

For those who still rely on the traditional Microsoft Office ecosystem, the company's Office 365 service provides cloud-based access to documents on the Web and via its Office Mobile Android and iOS apps. The mobile apps are significantly less full-featured than Google's, and they're rather restricted, with no offline access unless you opt to pay a $7- to $10-per-month subscription fee. Access to the iPad app requires a subscription as well, and there is no app for Android tablets as of now. All in all, it's not the greatest suite of services, but it's at least something for folks stuck under Microsoft's umbrella.

App: Microsoft Office 365 / Office Mobile
Developer: Microsoft
Category: Word Processing
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

Google Drive
Google Drive

Google's cloud-storage service comes with 15GB of free space (shared with Gmail and Google+ Photos) and the option to upgrade to various higher tiers -- anywhere from 100GB to 30TB -- for $2 to $300 a month. Drive offers seamless integration with Google Docs, as you'd expect. It also excels in search, allowing you to search for objects shown in stored images and text present in scanned documents. Beyond that, Drive is able to display numerous file types -- even Photoshop and Illustrator files, if you're using Android or the Web -- and it provides offline access to your files via both its Web and mobile apps.

App: Google Drive
Developer: Google
Category: Storage
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

Microsoft OneDrive
Microsoft OneDrive

Microsoft's storage offering comes with 15GB of free space and the option to various higher tiers -- 100GB, 200GB, or 1TB -- for $2 to $4 a month (with the 1TB plan requiring a one-year commitment). OneDrive is unique in its tight integration with both Microsoft's Office suite and Windows itself: You can store and access files in OneDrive from the various Office applications, and you can share files to OneDrive directly from Windows File Explorer.

App: OneDrive
Developer: Microsoft
Category: Storage
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

Dropbox
Dropbox

Dropbox gives you 2GB of free cloud storage, and you can bump that up to 1TB for $10 a month. While its starting level may be lower than what Google and Microsoft offer, Dropbox provides a wide range of features, including shared folders synced across multiple users and devices, nicely formatted photo galleries that are simple to share, the option to automatically back up photos as they're taken on mobile devices, and the option to remotely wipe a lost device (available only to paying customers). Dropbox’s powerful API has also made it a popular storage integration choice for many mobile apps.

App: Dropbox
Developer: Dropbox
Category: Storage
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

Box
Box

Box provides 10GB of free space with the option to upgrade to 100GB for $10 a month; unlimited storage plans are also available for businesswide accounts with at least three users for $15 per user per month. Box is working hard to set itself apart with enterprise-targeted features like an integrated file-commenting system and granular controls over permissions, allowing you to control what people can do with a file once you share it. Box also offers a powerful API that enables developers to use Box as an integrated file system for their mobile apps.

App: Box
Developer:
Box
Category: Storage
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

Google Hangouts
Google Hangouts

Google's free Hangouts service makes it easy to have one-on-one or group conversations as well as individual and group voice calls and video calls from whichever platform you prefer. The quality is typically quite good, so long as you're on a reliable and reasonably fast Internet connection. Video calls between Google users are free and unlimited, and voice calls to regular phone numbers within the United States and Canada are free. (You can call outside of those countries, too, but you'll have to pay a per-minute fee for the talk-time.)

App: Google Hangouts
Developer: Google
Category: Communication
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

Skype
Skype

Skype may not be as robust or user-friendly as Hangouts, but it's still a popular communication platform that can't be ignored. It provides free voice and video calls between users, but voice calls to regular phone numbers require either a monthly subscription or a per-minute fee. While there's (rather astonishingly) still no stand-alone Web app for the service, you can get to it from a desktop computer by signing into Microsoft's Outlook.com.

App: Skype
Developer: Skype Communications
Category: Communication
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

Trello
Trello

Whether you're working alone or as part of a team, Trello offers an easy yet powerful way to organize tasks, lists, and projects. No matter which platform you access it from, your data remains synced and looks the same to every user who sees it. Trello uses an intuitive whiteboard and notecard interface for task management, offering checklists, commenting, labels, attachments, notifications, and activity logs, as well as the ability to assign tasks to team members.

App: Trello
Developer: Fog Creek Software
Category: Project Management
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

Basecamp
Basecamp

When it comes to project management, Basecamp is one of the biggest names around. The service provides a centralized place for organizing and coordinating projects, allowing teams to create notes, lists, and schedules; upload files and plans; assign and manage tasks; and communicate with colleagues about progress on each individual element. With the company's multiplatform approach, you can view and edit anything you need from any device you have handy. (You'll need a Basecamp subscription, which is free for 60 days, then runs anywhere from $20 to $150 a month.)

App: Basecamp
Developer: Basecamp
Category:
Project Management
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

Wunderlist
Wunderlist

For simple lists, you want a simple app, and Wunderlist is one of the best around. Its clean and minimalist interface puts your tasks front and center, organized into topic-oriented lists, and it looks just as good whether you're on Android, iOS, or the Web. Wunderlist offers the ability to share lists, comment, delegate tasks, set reminders, and attach and share photos and files to your to-dos.

App: Wunderlist
Developer: 6 Wunderkinder
Category: Task Management
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

Any.do
Any.do

Another excellent list-centric option, Any.do offers a solid all-around experience, and Android users get bonus features like the ability to turn a missed call directly into a reminder. Regardless of your platform, the service provides all the basic organizational tools you'd expect, including shared lists, folder-based organization, and calendar-like alerts for important tasks. It syncs with Google's Tasks system, too, so you can access it from Gmail as well as from Any.do's own Web interface.

App: Any.do
Developer: Any.do
Category:
Task Management
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

Evernote
Evernote

Evernote offers a robust notebook-like service that features regular to-do lists along with the ability to store and manage photos, handwritten notes, and articles from the Web. In addition to its standard free suite of services, the company has a business-focused platform designed for larger-scale company-wide collaboration. Evernote is also blessed with a rich ecosystem of integrated apps and services, thereby extending the power of an already powerful productivity tool.

App: Evernote
Developer: Evernote
Category: Notebook
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

OneNote
OneNote

Microsoft's note-taking solution provides plenty of tools for keeping yourself and/or your team organized. You can create regular notes and lists, organize your stuff into notebooks or with tags, and add audio or video files into your notes. You can even take photos of receipts, memos, or whiteboards, then later search for the text shown in those images. OneNote also syncs with a stand-alone Windows app for those who prefer a more traditional desktop-based approach.

App: OneNote
Developer: Microsoft
Category: Notebook
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

Pocket
Pocket

If you find yourself stumbling onto more interesting content than you have time to read, Pocket is exactly what you need. Pocket integrates into all the major platforms and allows you to save an article for later with a couple quick taps. Once it's been saved, you can get to it from any device and view it online or offline within the app's own excellent reading utility. Pocket also allows you to save videos and images for later viewing, share what you’ve saved with other Pocket users, and file away your Pocket favorites to Evernote.

App: Pocket
Developer: Read It Later
Category: Notebook
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

QuickBooks
QuickBooks

QuickBooks is the de facto standard for small-business accounting for a reason: The service is jam-packed with functionality, and it works well regardless of what platform or type of device you're using. QuickBooks has all the accounting tools you'd expect, ranging from budget management to expense tracking and invoice creation and fulfillment. It all comes at a cost, though: The various apps require an active QuickBooks account, which runs $13 a month or $125 a year.

App: QuickBooks
Developer: Intuit
Category: Accounting
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

Expensify
Expensify

If logging and managing expenses is all you need, a simple app like Expensify can get the job done without costing you a dime. From your Android or iOS device, Expensify makes it easy to snap photos of a receipt, which it then quickly analyzes in order to extract the relevant details and put them (along with an actual image of the receipt) into your records. It has other handy features, too, like the ability to track and log mileage using your phone's GPS, and the data is always available on any device you sign into as well as via its Web-based application.

App: Expensify
Developer: Expensify
Category: Accounting
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

Google Calendar
Google Calendar

When it comes to maintaining a cross-platform calendar, Google Calendar stands in a league of its own. The free service provides a simple interface for managing meetings and personal appointments as well as sharing both individual events and full calendars with friends, family, and colleagues.

While Google doesn't yet offer its own official Calendar app for iOS, you can sync your Google Calendar data with Apple's native Calendar app or use third-party programs like Sunrise Calendar and Cal to tap into the info. On Android, meanwhile, an official Google app is available in addition to a variety of third-party contenders, allowing you to pick the setup that best suits your needs.

App: Google Calendar
Developer: Google
Category: Calendar
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

TripIt
TripIt

TripIt is a must-have app for anyone who travels. Once you sign up for the free service, all you do is forward any travel-related emails -- airline confirmations, hotel reservations, even concert ticket receipts or dinner reservation confirmations -- to a special email address, and TripIt automatically organizes them into trip-based itineraries.

For $49 a year, you can upgrade to TripIt Pro and get advanced features like real-time flight monitoring and alerts and a one-tap way to find alternate flight plans from your phone midtrip. TripIt also has an enterprise-level plan for organizations that want to implement its services company-wide.

App: TripIt
Developer: Concur Technologies
Category: Travel Management
Availability: Android | iOS | Web

LastPass
LastPass

We all have a billion passwords to keep track of these days -- and if you're using the same password for every website you sign into, well, you're doing it wrong. LastPass, which topped InfoWorld's recent review of the best password managers for PCs, Macs, and mobile devices, helps you create unique and strong passwords as you surf the Web, then keep track of them securely.

With AES 256-bit encryption, local-only decryption, and multifactor authentication, LastPass keeps your data under lock and key, giving you one fewer worry in your digital life.

The full version of the service, which you'll need for mobile-based access, costs $12 a year.

App: LastPass
Developer: Joseph Siegrist
Category: Password Management
Availability: Android | iOS | Web