Friday, May 17, 2024

50 Open Source Mobile Tools

Datamation content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

In a relatively short period of time, mobile devices have become ubiquitous in the workplace. A recent survey of enterprise and small business workers found that just 3 percent of organizations ban their employees from using personal iPads or iPhones for business use, and only 7 percent ban Android devices. In fact, 40 percent of organizations provide iPhones for more than a quarter of employees, and 25 percent provide Android-based smartphones.

The open source community has responded to this trend with a host of new projects, including solutions that help enterprises track and manage mobile devices, mobile development tools for creating new apps and open source apps that enable greater productivity. This month, we’ve put together a list of 50 of these tools that are worth notice. While there are many good open source mobile apps for home users, this list focuses instead on those that would be most useful in the workplace.

Please note that this is not a ranking. Apps are divided into categories and arranged alphabetically within each category.

As always, if you know of additional open source tools that you think should be on our list, feel free to note them in the Comments section below.

Mobility Management Solutions

1. Convertigo

Convertigo is a full-featured enterprise mobility platform for developing, deploying and managing apps. In addition to the free community edition (which has been installed more than 50,000 times), it comes in paid standard and extended editions. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X with clients for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry

2. ForgeRock

ForgeRock offers several different access management and identity management tools, including several that support mobile devices, mobile apps and APIs. Support is available through a paid subscription that comes in several different tiers. Operating System: Linux

3. OCS Inventory NG

Many IT departments use OCS Inventory NG to track their on-site hardware, and now the tool offers agents for Android and Windows mobile devices as well. It detects active devices on the network and provides information about the type of device and installed apps. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, Android, Windows Phone

4. OpenMobster

This tool includes both a mobile backend as a service that can be deployed in private clouds and a mobile enterprise application program (MEAP). Features include an enterprise sync platform, push notifications, mobile remote procedure caller (RPC) and a management console. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X (supports Android, iOS and Windows mobile devices)

5. WSO2 Enterprise Mobility Manager

This comprehensive enterprise mobility solution includes MDM, mobile app management, enterprise app store and mobile data security features. Paid support and training are available. Operating System: Windows, Linux, Solaris

Mobile Security and Privacy

6. APG

Short for “Android Privacy Guard,” APG is an implementation of the OpenGPG encryption standard for Android. It offers encryption, decrption, signing and key management capabilities. Operating System: Android


Ever wonder if your Android apps are watching you? The Android Security Evaluation Framework (ASEF) attempts to answer that question by running apps through a test suite to locate malware, adware and bandwidth hogs. Operating System: Android

8. The Guardian Project

The Guardian group offers numerous security- and privacy-related apps for Android devices. In addition to Orbot (see below), this project includes Orweb private Web browser, ChatSecure private and secure messaging (formerly Gibberbot), ObscuraCam privacy camera, Pixelknot hidden message and Ostel encrypted phone calls. Operating System: Android

9. KeePassDroid, 7Pas (KeePass for Windows Phone), iKeePass

KeePass is one of the most popular open source password safes available. Developers have ported the app to all of the major mobile operating systems. Operating System: Android, iOS, Windows Phone

10. LBE Privacy Guard

LBE claims to be the “most powerful privacy protection software for Android.” It blocks malware and unwanted traffic as well as giving users more control over which data apps can access. Note that in order to use it, you’ll need a rooted phone. Operating System: Android

11. MasterPassword

Instead of saving your passwords in a vault, MasterPassword generates secure passwords on demad using an algorithm based on your name, the site and your master password. The benefits of this approach are that you never have to worry about syncing and you don’t have to trust your passwords to a cloud provider. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, iOS, Android

12. Orbot

Orbot allows Android devices to access the Internet via the secure, private Tor network. In order to provide truly anonymous communication, it sends encrypted messages through several servers to make the traffic impossible to trace. Operating System: OS Independent

13. Secrets for Android

Encrypt your passwords and other “secrets” in a secure database. There’s also a PC Version called PCSecrets that allows you to access the data from your computer and enables easy data transfer to a new device. Operating System: Android

14. XPrivacy

Winner of a Black Duck Rookie of the Year award, XPrivacy allows users to limit the categories of data that Android apps can access. If an app requires permission to access contacts or location data in order to run, XPrivacy will feed it fake data so that the app keeps functioning while protecting the user’s privacy. Operating System: Android

Mobile Development Tools

15. Apache Cordova

The Cordova platform offers a set of APIs for creating native apps using Web development technologies like HTML, CSS and JavaScript. More than 600 plug-ins are available to extend its capabilities. Operating System: iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone

16. Appcelerator Titanium

Used by more than 75,000 applications, the Titanium platform includes an open source SDK with over 5,000 device and mobile operating system APIs, the Studio Eclipse-based IDE and the Alloy MVC framework. A mobile backend as a service (MBaaS) is also available. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, iOS, Android, BlackBerry

17. Bootstrap

Developed by Twitter, Bootstrap claims to be “the most popular HTML, CSS, and JS framework for developing responsive, mobile first projects on the web.” Highly customizable, it allows users to check boxes to indicate which components they would like to include in their download. Operating System: OS Independent

18. Edhita

Edhita is an open source text editor that makes it easier to write code from your iPad or iPhone. Several related projects, including EDHFontSelector, EDHInputAccessoryView, EDHUtility and EDHFinder add functionality to the text editor. Operating System: iOS

19. Hammer.js

Hammer.js makes it easy to incorporate touch- and mouse-based gesture recognition into your code. By default it includes tap, doubletap, press, pan, swipe, pinch and rotate recognition. Operating System: OS Independent

20. Ionic

This front-end SDK for hybrid app development promises to help developers “create amazing apps.” It includes several libraries of HTML, CSS and JavaScript components, gestures and tools, and it is optimized for use with AngularJS. Operating System: OS Independent

21. JQuery Mobile

Based on HTML5, JQuery Mobile helps developers create responsive apps that can be accessed from any mobile device. It includes a Theme Roller that simplifies the process of creating and applying custom themes. Operating System: OS Independent

22. jQT

With jQT, you can do Web development from your Android or iOS smartphone or tablet. Features include Sass-based themes, Zepto support, native WebKit animations, callback events, swipe detection, image preloading and more. Operating System: iOS, Android

23. Kurogo

Named after the stagehands in Japanese theater, Kurogo is mobile-optimized middleware that aids in the development of content-rich sites. Users include Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University, Brown University, Georgetown University and many other notable organizations. Operating System: Windows, Linux, iOS

24. LoopBack

Loopback describes itself as a “powerful Node.js framework for creating APIs and easily connecting to backend data sources.” Add-ons are available to add push, file management, 3rd-party login, and geolocation capabilities. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, Android, iOS

25. MoSync SDK and Reload

MoSync offers two different versions of its mobile development tools: SDK allows users to build cross-platform native, Web or hybrid apps using C/C++ or HTML5. Reload enables developers to create cross-platform native apps using HTML5/JavaScript. Operating System: Windows, OS X, Android, iOS, Windows Phone

26. OpenMEAP

OpenMEAP claims to be “the first open source HTML5 mobile application platform that enables businesses and consumers with no programming experience to easily create, manage and deploy mobile applications that are automatically optimized for every device, including desktops, smartphones and tablets.” It enables rapid application development using HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript, and it can be deployment on premises or in the cloud. Operating System: Android, iOS, Windows, BlackBerry

27. Phaser

Designed specifically for HTML5 game development, Phaser promises quick development of fun games. Features include WebGL and Canvas rendering, a preloader, three different physics systems, sprites, groups, animation, camera, touch or mouse input and much more. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, Android, iOS

28. PhoneGap

Extremely popular, PhoneGap makes it easy to create native mobile apps using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. In addition to the open source version, it’s also available in a paid enterprise version, and the PhoneGap Build service can compile your apps in the cloud. Operating System: Windows, iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, others

29. Qt

Supporting both mobile and desktop development, Qt is a cross-platform application and user interface framework used by more than 800,000 people. It supports C++ and QML, a language based on CSS and JavaScript. Paid versions are also available. Operating System: Windows, OS X, Linux

30. Rhodes

Based on Ruby, Rhodes is a rapid mobile application development framework for building native apps that can make use of device features like GPS, camera, barcode readers, Bluetooth and NFC. It claims to be the only framework with support for Model View Controller, synchronized data, support for all devices, a hosted build service and “true industrial device capabilities.” Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone

31. Sencha Touch

Sencha Touch enables the creation of mobile Web apps using HTML5, and it includes more than 50 built-in components. Paid support and services are available. Operating System: OS Independent

32. THyM

Part of the Eclipse project, The Hybrid Mobile Project (a.k.a. THyM) allows developers to create hybrid mobile apps using the Eclipse IDE. It supports Adobe Cordova and has been integrated into JBoss Developer Studio and Zend Studio. Operating System: OS Independent

33. Vim

Now you can use your favorite (or not) code editor on your iPhone or iPad. Noteworthy features inlcude automatic indentation, visual mode, language-aware syntax highlighting, macro recording and playback, multiple clipboards and more. Operating System: OS Independent

Mobile Database

34. Realm

Realm aims to speed the development of iOS and Android apps by offering a database designed specifically for mobile. The database claims it can “save you thousands of lines of code and weeks of work.” Operating System: OS X, iOS, Android

App Testing

35. Akamai Mobitest

This tool aims to make it easier to find out how your websites are performing on real mobile devices. You can download the source code from the link above, and Akamai also offers a limited hosted service on its website. Operating System: OS Independent

36. Appium

Appium is a test automation framework that can support iOS, Android, mobile Web and hybrid apps. Unlike some other testing tools, it doesn’t require a special SDK or recompiling—simply test your production code as it is. Operating System: OS Independent

37. QuincyKit

QuincyKit is the open source technology that powers Microsoft’s HockeyApp crash reporting. It offers live crash report management and long-term statistics. Operating System: OS X, iOS

Mobile Utilities

38. Android-VNC-Viewer

Available through Google Play, this Android VNC client can connect to TightVNC, RealVNC, x11vnc and Apple Remote Desktop. It allows users (or help desk personnel) to remote control desktops or laptops from an Android device. Operating System: Android

39. Connectbot

A good option for UNIX administrators, Connectbot is a SecureShell (SSH) client that allows users to manage simultaneous SSH sessions, create secure tunnels, and copy/paste between other applications. If you search for the app on Google Play, you’ll also find a fork that updates some of its capabilities. Operating System: Android

40. Floating Stickies

If you use a sticky note utility on your desktop or laptop (or if you use a lot of sticky notes in the real world), you might enjoy this sticky note app for Android devices. Notes stay on top of all other apps, but you can dock them at the side and/or resize them to save space. Source code available through GitHub. Operating System: Android

41. SMS Backup+

Backup your text messages to your Gmail account with this helpful app. There are several apps on Google Play with similar names, but the original version from this GitHub project is available here. Operating System: Android

Mobile Apps

42. A Time Tracker

This app helps freelancers, service professionals and other workers track when they started and stopped work on a project. It can help with billing or with improving your productivity. Installable through F-Droid. Operating System: Android

43. CrocodileNote

Take notes on your mobile device, organize them into folders and encrypt them so noone else can read them without your password. The link above will let you download the app, and the source code is available through Goodle Code. Operating System: Android

44. Direct Dictaphone

Leave yourself short messages to review later. To keep the file size small, the app restricts each note to forty-five seconds or less. Operating System: Android

45. Drupal Editor

Manage your Drupal-based website from your phone or tablet. Note that you’ll need Drupal in order to use it. Source code is available through GitHub. Operating System: Android

46. F-Droid

F-Droid makes it easy for open source fans to download more than a thousand FOSS apps to their Android devices. It includes games, development tools, utilities, office tools and even apps for kids. Operating System: Android

47. K-9

This alternative email client boasts search, multi-folder sync, flagging, filing, signatures, PGP and more. It supports IMAP, POP3 and Exchange mail. Operating System: Android

48. Jaspersoft

Jaspersoft, one of the most popular open source business intelligence tools, offers a free mobile app to connect users with their BI data and analytics. More information about the full solution and commercial services is available at Operating System: OS Independent

49. NoNonsense Notes

Track a to-do list and leave yourself notes with this a simple, attractive app. Features include reminders, password support and synchronization with Google Tasks. Source code available through GitHub. Operating System: OS Independent

50. Task Coach

Keep on track of your to do list with this hierarchical task manager. It has iOS and Android clients that sync with the desktop tool, but note that the iOS version is not truly open source because it requires a small fee to download. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, iOS, Android

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Subscribe to Data Insider

Learn the latest news and best practices about data science, big data analytics, artificial intelligence, data security, and more.

Similar articles

Get the Free Newsletter!

Subscribe to Data Insider for top news, trends & analysis

Latest Articles