45 Free Android Apps for Productivity

Free Android apps can turn your tablet into a mini-office.
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Clearly, free Android apps can be part of highly productive tablet use.

Okay, sure, maybe you're not meant to use a tablet for productivity. Tablets are supposed to be for consuming content, for texting, email, and web browsing rather than creating content – or so some people think.

But if you hang out at coffee shops or pass through airports, you only have to count the tablets to know that people are using these devices for serious work, and in growing numbers.

The desktop, apparently, is not dead so much as in the process of being miniaturized. The free Android app is a key player in that.

Storage is limited on tablets, and syncing is always a concern, so most users resort to cloud-based apps and storage of one sort or the other. However, these services are a topic for another day.

For now, here are forty-five free Android apps to give a start to those who prefer their work local, whether out of habit or privacy concerns, no matter what the size of their computer's memory:

Free Android Apps: Office Apps

Office software on mobile devices usually has fewer features than the equivalent software on the desktop. Given the limited screen display, that seems unavoidable. Still, the situation is improving. Today, you can even occasionally find some features on the tablet screen that you won't find on the workstation.

1. Catch Notes - Catch Notes supports both voice and text notes. It is also a simple but effective collaboration tool -- in part because relatively little can go wrong.

2. Fill and Sign PDF Forms - The name says it all. The awkward interface is compensated for by the app's usefulness.

3. GO Contacts - Fast search and merging of entries make GO Contacts well worth using. It also has backup and recovery for the cautious.

4. iTranslate - iTranslate is an ambitious app, prematurely proclaiming itself the universal translator. Most reports suggest that its voice recognition is irregular, but for emails and files it works quickly and well.

5. Kingsoft Office (Free) - Kingsoft Office's word processor and spreadsheet compare favorably with Google Docs. How to navigate may take a moment to comprehend, and there's no support for LibreOffice's Open Document Format, but otherwise, Kingsoft is about as good as mobile offices get.

6. Kingsoft Office (International) - If you use Kingsoft Office, consider this app, which includes support for 45 different languages.

7. OliveOffice Premium - This office suite not only includes a word processor and spreadsheet, but also readers for .pdf and .chm files. However, its response time can be a little slow.

8. OpenOffice Document Reader - If you use LibreOffice or Apache OpenOffice, this app is a basic necessity. Unfortunately, no corresponding apps allows you to save to Open Document Format, which means that, for now, the default formats for mobile devices is Microsoft Office's.

9. Presentation Pal -Presentation Pal runs presentations directly from your mobile device, or else controls the projector. But test it beforehand -- many users report having trouble controlling an external device.

10. Qoppa PDF Reader - While you could install Adobe Acrobat Reader, Qoppa is far faster. Unlike several other available .pdf readers, it is also ad-free.

11. TaskOS - If you're a listmaker, TaskOS should handily meet your requirements. You can enter tasks by voice or text, annotate or share them, and set alarms.

12. Zoho Invoice - Produce an invoice on the spot with this app, then either email it or use a print app to get hardcopy.

Free Android Apps: Graphic apps

Small screens make tablets less than ideal for most graphics work. But that doesn't stop people from trying, and a number of apps can reduce the pain.

13. AutoCAD WS - Primarily meant as a viewer, AutoCAD WS also lets you annotate and edit AutoCAD files. It's surprisingly fully-featured, although screen size may limit the usefulness.

14. CamScanner PDF Creator - This app ads scanner and fax capability to your tablet. You can save in PDF format either online or locally.

15. Diagram.me - Diagram.me is new enough that it has no reviews. Personally, I find it simple, but adequate. It takes about ten minutes to learn to control it through gestures.

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Tags: open source, mobile, android apps, free download, Android app

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