by James A. Martin

Top 3 Back-to-Work iOS, Android Productivity Apps

Sep 04, 20123 mins

Labor Day has come and gone; now it’s time to get back to work. But not all work gets done in the office. Here are three iOS and Android apps blogger James A. Martin relies on to get work done while on the road.

It pains me to admit it, but summer-vacation season is over. The upside to this tragic turn of events is that it’s technically still summer. (The autumnal equinox isn’t until September 22 this year.) And with the right apps and devices we can work, if we must, just about anywhere we want—the beach on a warm September afternoon, for example.

Here are three of my favorite iOS and Android apps I use to be productive while on the go.


(Free for iPhone, iPad and Android.)

Not long ago, I found myself standing in an extremely long check-out line. I also had an article deadline bearing down on me. So I took out my iPhone and opened the Dropbox app, found the Word file I needed, opened it in Apple’s Pages app, made my final changes, and then sent the article off to my editor—all before I reached the cash register.

Dropbox has plenty of competition these days from cloud-backup services such as Microsoft’s SkyDrive, Google Drive, and SugarSync. Dropbox isn’t your least expensive option, either, but the free 2GB plan is probably enough for your most important files. The service also recently  had some security issues, according to blogger Bill Snyder. Still, I love Dropbox for its simplicity and ease of use. It does one thing—make your files easily accessible from a variety of devices and over the Web—and it does it beautifully.

Dropbox screen shot iPhone app


($10 for iPhone and iPad.)

Apple’s Pages word processing app, along with its Numbers spreadsheet and Keynote presentation apps, can be a life saver. It’s even more valuable now that my Pages documents automatically sync between my iPhone, iPad and Mac via Apple’s iCloud and the latest Mountain Lion Mac OS. (For more details, read “Apple’s iCloud Finally Syncs Docs Across Macs and iOS Devices.”)

Pages isn’t as compatible with Word as I’d like it to be. For example, it lacks a Track Changes feature, which is a big drawback for me. But you get lots of page-layout templates, a beautifully designed interface and a convenient way to edit text documents (with images) on a mobile device.

Pages app iPhone


(Free for iPhone, iPad and Android.)

There’s no shortage of apps designed to collect and organize fragments of information—such as bits of data you find on the Web and want to quickly access again at a later date. My current favorite is Springpad, which syncs your memos, photos and audio recordings across iOS and Android apps, as well as the Springpad website. Springpad’s sharing feature lets you collaborate with colleagues on project-related notebooks or share your clippings on Facebook. I also appreciate how the app fills in information you start to enter; type the name of a book you want to read, for instance, and Springpad fills out your note with information about the book. The app’s interface takes a little getting used to, but the investment in time is well worth the productivity benefits.

springpad Android app

(Springpad image courtesy Spring Partners)