Smartphone Applications ForTech-Savvy Business Owners

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Tired of lugging a huge laptop around to access presentations, files and other imperative information? Smartphones are not branded with such a name for no reason. These essential business gadgets have a number of applications available to you without wasting time or being weighed down. According to the Pew Research Center, percentages of data applications have grown significantly since last year. There are many applications claiming to ease your administrative woes, some for a price and some free of charge. From editing presentations to managing your travel schedule, the growing number of phone applications eases the lives of business owners by giving them the ability to do business away from their computers. The following includes five recommended mobile applications for your smartphone.

Square:
Tired of doling out extra money for a merchant account in order to accept credit cards? According to Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, merchants will no longer have to worry about monthly fees or hidden costs with his new smartphone application, Square, that turns your cell phone into a virtual cash register. In order to use the Square application, you must register and create a member account and install the software to use the service. You can then attach a card-reading dongle to the smartphone’s audio input (applicable with the iPhone, iPod, iPad or Android phones) and start doing business from there. Once the payee’s card has been swiped, the customer can sign the receipt by using their finger on the touch screen once the card authorizes. The receipt may also be written, sent electronically through e-mail or through SMS depending on your client’s preference. After each transaction, funds are then held in your Square account balance. The application also has an online accounting dashboard to keep track of sales.

Perhaps you have clients worried about security issues. Well, they can have peace-ofmind knowing that card numbers, magnetic stripe data and security codes are not stored on client devices and adhere to the PCI Data Standard (PCI-DSS), Level 1. Square also holds a Verisign SSL Certificate that encrypts any transmitted data. The company, however, is not responsible for determining any taxes or reporting them, so you are held accountable for doing so. Even though the application itself is free, there are transaction fees for swiped transactions that amount to 2.75 percent with an additional 15 cents and 3.5 percent with an additional 15 cents for keyed-in transactions. Other fees may also apply when you use this service.

Evernote:
Evernote is software available for your desktop, accessible online, and now it is the solution to your synchronization problems by acting as your personal filing cabinet on-the-go. Instead of toggling back and forth between personal and work e-mail accounts, checking voicemails and Web sites, Evernote acts as a central location for various items you would like to recall, such as word documents, photos, Web sites, charts and e-mails. You can also record voice memos instead of jotting down a note during meetings or appointments with clients. If you already have an existing account with Evernote, you can sign in with the same account information, or create an account once you have installed the application. Once the account information has authenticated, you are free to text a note, take a snapshot, take an audio note, upload a file or search for any existing notes on that account. Every time a new note is created, the application will automatically synchronize on the Web and to your desktop if you have Evernote installed. This application has its own interface for the iPhone, iPod, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Palm Pre and Windows Mobile, but still provides the same functionalities.

Evernote is free, but it does have a premium option. The premium option includes features like an increase in your monthly upload allowance, which is 40MB for free and 500MB with the premium option and stronger security through SSL encryption at login and note transfer. Other upgrades are featured with a premium service at a monthly rate of $5 or $45 per year to get the most out of Evernote’s services.

TripIt:
TripIt is a Web application now accessible through your mobile device, making travel planning a lot easier and manageable (especially if you live out of a suitcase). Through your mobile device, you have easy access to your TripIt itineraries (whether you are online or offline) and maps and directions from your itinerary when you get to your destination. Links to airlines, hotels and restaurants are also accessible through your itinerary. These features are available for free, but the premium option has features that are very helpful when considering unpredictable flight changes and inclement weather. With TripIt Pro, you can avoid headaches and frustration by receiving alerts concerning alternate flight options, flight refunds, gate changes and cancellations from your mobile phone. You can also share travel plans with people who need to track where you are or where you are going. The premium version on TripIt also keeps track of travel rewards, such as frequent flyer miles and hotel points.

TripIt Pro is available for $49 per year and is available on mobile devices including the Android, Blackberry and iPhone. If you do not have these smartphones, you can still access data online through its Web browser. There is also a TripIt Pro for Business that allows you to sign up for TripIt Pro for 10 travelers and Group Manager at a discounted price. Exclusive travel benefits are also included with a TripIt Pro membership.

Office Mobile 2010:
Office Mobile 2010 includes Word Mobile 2010, Excel Mobile 2010, PowerPoint Mobile 2010, OneNote Mobile 2010 and SharePoint Workspace Mobile 2010. If you use Microsoft Office at work, this application will prove the most useful to you.

Word Mobile 2010 gives you the capability to view and edit documents created in Microsoft Word. The menu includes features, such as cut, copy, paste, find-and- replace, font and paragraph formatting, word count, date insert and options for save locations. Word Mobile 2010 also includes new “Text Reflow” technology, which reformats intricate documents so it is best displayed specifically for a smartphone screen. Do not fret about any permanent changes to the document, it is only a display feature to better view the documents on your mobile device. All of the basic editing and review tools are there in order to look over your employees’ work or your own. Once you are done reading something over, the new and improved document can be sent through e-mail with a touch of a button.

Excel Mobile 2010 is your spreadsheet architect when you are on the move. Forget to chart the latest sales statistics for your business? Excel Mobile has the same basic functionalities as your desktop version, including calculating numerical data and organizing it in charts, formatting tools and style and cell options. Though the functionalities are limited with this mobile version, more than 100 of the desktop functions are supported.

PowerPoint Mobile 2010 enables users to view PowerPoint slides and edit the text within them. It is ideal just in case you need to make a note of when to say what, create presentation notes or view notes that have already been created. This section of Office Mobile is certainly useful and could save the day if you happen to notice an embarrassing error or looming mistake right before your presentation that could potentially cost you a sale or a customer.

OneNote Mobile 2010 can be particularly useful during meetings or conferences. The program is essentially a notetaking application where you can add text or embed photos along with the notes. This feature of Office Mobile is great for taking pictures of logos or new products to show clients.

SharePoint Workspace Mobile 2010 is useful if your company uses the desktop version of Microsoft SharePoint. On the SharePoint server, any changes made to documents, photos, presentations or charts will appear on your mobile application and vice versa.

The great thing about this application is that it is available on nearly all mobile devices. If you already have Office Mobile on a Windows Mobile 6.5 phone, a free upgrade option is available. Otherwise, this application will cost you $30.

LogMeIn Ignition:
LogMeIn Ignition gives you remote access to your computer(s) from your mobile device. You can use this handy application for file sharing, systems management, data backup and business collaboration. The great thing about this application is that it allows you to access both Windows PC and Macintosh computers. Have you ever forgotten to transfer files when you leave work so you can work on projects at home? This application gives you the freedom to forget and not go into panic mode when you remember. You will not find yourself pulling your hair out and paging the IT guy to set up your phone with your computer either. It is as easy as logging in on the desktop interface, adding the computers you would like to access on your mobile phone and choosing which computer you would like to access from your mobile device. There is no routing or proxy configuration necessary, and it maintains an AES 256-bit encryption for security purposes.

This resourceful mobile application is free to download; however, there is also a premium option. The premium version costs $29.99 and includes file transfer, remote-tolocal printing and desktop sharing. LogMeIn Ignition is available for the iPhone, Android and Windows smartphones.

Smartphones have changed the way we work. These applications are made to streamline your business and give you easy access to various aspects of your company, whether it is making sales transactions, editing documents or creating presentations. Technology is always improving to make the lives of business owners easier and with these applications, it just did. You can rest assured knowing that while you are out of the office, you can still manage your business in the palm of your hand.

About Emily Capdevielle 5 Articles
Emily Capdevielle is a business editor. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in the arts and majored in journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

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