15 Ways to Use Your Smartphone as a Mobile Office

English: iPhone 4 comparion to the iPhone 4S.
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This post was written and contributed by Robert McGarvey who has been a busy freelance writer for 30 years, writing for many leading publications. Robert blogs via Contently.com.

Have you ever said, “I’ll take care of it when I get back to the office” while you were talking on your smartphone? That was a mistake because in your hand right now is a powerful tool that can accomplish almost every desktop or laptop task. Install the right apps, learn a few tricks and your office can be anywhere.

Granted, there are some undertakings that ought not to be attempted on a smartphone – the screen is a bit too small to accommodate a huge spreadsheet with hundreds of columns and rows. Forget filling out long forms and manipulating big graphics and images, or any work that’s going to be keyboard-heavy (your thumbs can’t take it). But just about everything else is a “can do.” A smartphone won’t always be the ideal workspace — but in a pinch you can use it to get by. Try some of these handy tools and apps.


1. Take notes. Evernote (Android and iPhone) is clever software that allows you to enter notes on one device and retrieve them on another. Input a reminder on your iPhone and it syncs to your laptop, desktop or tablet. Never again will you have to search for that scrap of paper with an important number.

2. Record key meetings. Use your smartphone as a voice recorder to playback important meetings. You can use either the native phone app, or you can download a custom one such as iTalk Recorder.

3. Present a slideshow. Your smartphone can be a powerful tool for your next presentation.  Keynote was developed specifically for the iPhone and iPad and can allow you to edit slides and presentation controls to show your slides.  Presenter is an option for Android users to wirelessly control their PowerPoint presentation.

4. Join a meeting. WebEx (Android and iPhone) is free from Cisco, and it lets iPhone and Android users join WebEx meetings just as is they were at their desks.

Movin’ and Shakin’

5. Get paid. Square (Android and iPhone) lets the on-the-go entrepreneur accept credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover) using their smartphone with a free app and a tiny piece of hardware that inserts into the headphone jack.

6. Manage a to-do list. Where better to keep this list than on your phone? Never leave your checklist on your office desk again.  Taskos is a solution available on Android, while Asana is a strong option for iPhone users.

7. Scan business cards. ScanBizCards (Android and iPhone) takes the drudgery out of importing new contact info. Snap a photo and all the contact information can be exported to Salesforce.com, Jigsaw or Daylite CRM.

8. Update and review CRM files.  When better to update a client’s CRM entry than immediately after a meeting? When better to review it than immediately before? A smartphone is the best place to do CRM.  37signals Highrise (iPhone) and Salesforce Mobile (Android and iPhone) are two of the more popular CRM apps.

9. Delegate a task. A virtual “executive assistant,” such as Siri on iPhone4S or Edwin on Android, can be put to work no matter where you are.

Better Your Business

10. Edit any Microsoft Office document. Excel, Word and PowerPoint are all compatible with premium apps such as Documents To Go (Android and iPhone). While there are free alternatives, this is one app worth paying for.

11. Track your finances. Mint.com, whose motto is “money on the go made easy,” has an app (Android and iPhone) that allows you to track, budget and manage your money in one place for free.

12. Create an expense report. Expensify (Android and iTunes) uses your phone’s camera to “scan” receipts and build a report directly from your airline seat.

13. Learn a language. Babbel proves you don’t need to sit in a classroom, or even at your desktop computer, to learn. Prediction: more educational tools will be available for smartphones as developers take advantage of the ubiquity and portability of the device.

Get Techie

14. FTP on the go.  App makers have been busy creating robust FTP tools — try SwiFTP on Android and FTP On The Go on the Phone — that allow for file uploads and edits directly from a smartphone.

15. Manage your IT infrastructure. Don’t say impossible. With the Rackspace Cloud app (Android and iPhone), administering your Cloud Servers and Cloud Files is a click away.

The bottom line is that if a business task needs to be done, you probably can do it with the smartphone in your hand. Compute that.

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Garrett Heath develops content and supports customers on the Rackspace Social Media team. His previous experience includes technical project management in the cloud, content marketing and social media marketing. He enjoys writing about how the cloud is spurring innovation and telling stories about the people behind the tech. You can also read his work at MarketingBytes.io. In his free time, Garrett writes about food and local San Antonio culture at SA Flavor.


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