With more than 500,000 apps available for smartphones and tablets, there’s nothing you can’t do on the fly—from tracking surf conditions to starting your car. Some are now standard-issue biz tools, such as Google docs, Outlook and Microsoft Office. But for many people, there are specific killer apps they can’t work without. Here are five.
FOR CONSULTANTS AND MOBILE WORKERS
Killer App: Dropbox
What it is: A secure file-hosting service
What it does: Dropbox lets you store documents, photos and videos on a server that you can access from any synched phone or computer, as well as from the Dropbox website. When you’re done viewing or working on them, it saves them in all places. You can also set up sharing privileges.
Why it kills: “All of my sensitive documents are stored on the secure server, in addition to the hard drive on my PC,” says Andrew Schrage, owner and operator of the blog, Money Crashers Personal Finance based in Chicago. “The basic membership is free, and it comes with 2GB of storage space, which is more than enough for what I currently need.”
FOR SALES MANAGERS
Killer App: Salesforce and Salesforce Chatter
What it is: Salesforce CRM is a Customer Relationship Manager; Salesforce Chatter is an employee social network.
What it does: Salesforce uses cloud computing to let companies and individual salespeople integrate all aspects of their business—from account history to customer communication to workflow. With Chatter, employees can collaborate in real time via instant message.
Why it kills: “I can select one of my salespeople’s customers, see the correspondence and the details of the opportunity, and access the contract,” says John Golden, CEO and President of Huthwaite, a global sales-training and consulting firm based in Arlington, VA. “It’s a composite picture of what’s happening with the customer—and I can get it quickly and easily. It’s a one-stop place to manage your business.”
FOR EXECS WHO TRAVEL ABROAD
Killer App: Oanda
What it is: An online foreign-exchange trading and currency-conversion provider
What it does: Supplies currency conversion rates
Why it kills: “It gives five options for the rate depending upon where you change your money—at a hotel, in a bank, at an ATM or money exchange house, or through a credit card,” says Suzanne Garber, COO of International SOS, a global healthcare, medical assistance, and security services company based in Philadelphia. “It also gives you the ability to see the rate that same location would give you buy back your excess currency.”
FOR EXECUTIVES WITH A FAR-FLUNG TEAM
Killer App: Leader Phone
What it is: An audio conferencing provider
What it does: Manages conference calls—including scheduling, invitations, email announcements, privacy options, and online call notes
Why it kills: “It makes you appear very professional,” says Jim Angleton, President of AEGIS FinServ Corp., a financial advising firm based in Miami. “I use it on the fly, and it works great.”
FOR THE ON-THE-GO PRESENTER
Killer app: Keynote
What it is: A presentation-creation app for Apple mobile devices
What it does: Lets you create, revise, show and share presentations on an iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, using cloud computing.
Why it kills: “For a mere $10, it allows me to take what my agency’s creative and media teams dream up, and transport it to clients—and potential clients—around the world as a compelling mobile show,” says Joy Schwartz, President of Euro RSCG Chicago, an advertising and marketing agency. “It has the features I need to create, edit and run engaging presentations on the go, but not superfluous ones that slow it down, distract me with too many choices or make it intimidating to operate during a tense new-business pitch.”