Best IPhone Apps: Communication and Collaboration
The iPhone 2.x software brings Microsoft Exchange support to the iPhone and iPod Touch. Look to the following Safari and native apps to connect with IBM Lotus Domino eMail; sync with Outlook calendar and contacts; share news, notes, and files with co-workers; and message without SMS charges.
IBM Lotus iNotes Ultralite
For the many enterprises running Lotus Domino eMail, iNotes Ultralite brings e-mail, calendar, and contacts to the iPhone. To make this work, IT needs to upgrade the company's Notes server with Domino Web Access 8.0.2. Employees then simply point the iPhone's Safari browser to the secure Domino server. The Web interface is tailored to the iPhone, so it's easy to view your inbox, compose messages, check meeting details, and retrieve contact information.
iAnywhere Mobile Office
Less powerful than iNotes, Sybase's free iAnywhere application allows access to personal and contact information on Lotus Domino e-mail systems. You're limited to reading the corporate address book (and personal entries), but you can save contacts to the iPhone. On the back end, your business must purchase and install iAnywhere Mobile Office for IBM Lotus Domino and OneBridge Mobile Groupware. For organizations supporting many types of mobile devices (iAnywhere handles 250-plus models), this is a respectable solution.
Although the iPhone now hooks up to Microsoft Exchange servers, the Web-based HyperOffice ($44.99 per month for five users) remains a good option, especially for small businesses. This solution synchronizes your iPhone e-mail client with Microsoft Outlook running on your desktop, and with Microsoft Exchange. SMBs should consider this solution; without any extra software on the iPhone or behind the corporate firewall, employees can access shared calendars, contacts, tasks, and links.
RSS readers proliferate in the App Store. But for a full solution, one of the best is NewsGator's free NetNewsWire, which syncs with feeds you specify through the company's free online Web portal. As you view items on your iPhone, articles are conveniently marked as read on your PC or Mac. You can also save items for later reference using the clipping feature. These, too, are available when accessing NewsGator from your Mac or PC.
For $4.99, you might consider Phantom Fish's Byline 2.0 feed reader application. Byline relies on your free Google Reader account as a source for feeds. It then automatically syncs with your account and brings in new content as it's updated. One uncommon capability lets you view up to 200 items on each list while you're offline, including Web pages to which the feeds link. Landscape mode, rating items, and sending items by e-mail are other useful Byline features.
Box is a secure, hosted service for collaborating and managing files. The Lite version (up to 1GB of space) is free; cost goes up to $15 for each user per month for the Enterprise plan (15GB storage). You need a PC or Mac for some functions, such as sharing files with others. Still, this free application provides access to your Box.net account from the iPhone. An Update button lets you check for new files from collaborators. You can also backup iPhone photos to Box.
AOL provides more than instant messaging service with Mobile AIM, built specifically for the iPhone and iPod touch. You can send and receive messages over Wi-Fi, Edge, or 3G connections. It's easy to manage your buddy lists, and changes are synced with iChat for Windows or Mac. You can also take pictures with the iPhone's camera and use it as your buddy icon.
Geni's Yammer is a tool for coworkers to keep abreast of each other's status and activities. It has features not found in Twitter, such as comments, tags, file uploads, and long messages. Though this online service has always let users send and receive messages via mobile phone, the free Yammer for iPhone application further simplifies this online collaboration. The interface lets you quickly describe what you are working on and see what other employees are doing.
If you're using the RingCentral Office hosted business phone service (see review), then this free application is for you. RingCentral Mobile adds one critical feature to your RingCentral account: You can show your business caller ID when making calls from your iPhone.