Apple's App Store has more than 50,000 mobile apps. Blackberry's App World and Nokia's Ovi store are ramping up the number they offer as quickly as possible. In the near future, Microsoft will open its Marketplace for Mobile store as well.
As a result, there has never been such a wide choice of mobile apps available. The good news is that many of these can turn your cell phone into a powerful business tool.
Here are 10 of the best mobile apps to make you more productive. All iPhone apps are available from Apple's AppStore. Links are provided for others' apps.
A simple way to connect your laptop to the Internet anywhere where you have 3G cellular coverage.
Very useful for those occasions when you need to run or shut down an application or check data stored on your computer when you are out of the office. A large screen device (such as an iPhone) is essential for these applications to be practical.
Note: LogMeIn requires a free or paid Logmein account from www.logmein.com and Logmein software running on Windows or OS X desktop device. To use a VNC mobile client, free VNC server software must be running on Windows, Linux or Mac desktop.
After installing Sugarsync Manager software on team members' Windows or Mac machines, project files or folders are sent to Sugarsync whenever changes are made. A Sugarsync Mobile client enables you to access those files directly from your phone.
Note: Requires a free or paid SugarSync account from www.sugarsync.com.
Keep an idea on how your business is doing, any time, anywhere, with a cell phone interface to your Google Analytics data. The iPhone app comes with a money back guarantee if you are not satisfied.
Use corporate applications directly from your cell phone without the risk of losing or compromising confidential corporate data, since the applications and data run in your corporate data center. XenApp sends only screen display updates to your phone.
Host audio conferences with full dashboard controls, see files and presentations, chat via IM, without having to return to your office of carry around a laptop.
Note: WebEx and Fuze Meeting conference services are not free.
Mobile, Android, WebOS coming soon) from $4.99 depending on platform A portable productivity suite, Documents To Go lets you create, open and edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents on your cell phone, including files received as attachments.
Note: iPhone app currently supports editing only for Word documents; other formats can only be viewed.
Handy for those times when your web site needs updating or you notice a typo on one of the pages when you are away from your desk.
Use your phone as a credit card terminal for instant transactions anywhere. Intuit GoPayment can also be used with a Bluetooth card reader for added speed.
Note: These services all require signing up for a merchant account and involve monthly and/or per-transaction fees.
View leads, contacts, accounts, opportunities, cases and solutions, and edit tasks and events in Salesforce.com, and view and interact with pre-defined and customized Oracle financial, HR, supply chain and CRM analytics and business intelligence alerts.
Paul Rubens is a journalist based in Marlow on Thames, England. He has been programming, tinkering and generally sitting in front of computer screens since his first encounter with a DEC PDP-11 in 1979.