Now that business users have begun clamoring for Android phones in earnest, it's a better time than ever to take a fresh look at the Android apps now available for enterprises.
There are more than 100,000 apps in the Android Market today, so finding the cream of the crop isn't always easy. What follows, however, is a look at 11 gems no business should be without.
Scan2PDF Mobile uses your mobile phone to scan documents and convert them to PDF files. Essentially, it turns your phone into a document scanner and fax machine that never leaves your side. The software enhances and compresses the output from the camera into a high-quality PDF, which is then stored on your phone and can be emailed. Cost: A Lite version of Scan2PDF Mobile is available on the Android Market as a free demo; the regular version costs $14.99.
This application turns your phone into a retro dictaphone. Users can easily record audio and voice, add notes and send via e-mail; they can also save and view the recording location on a map. A Lite version is available for free in the Android Market; the full version is available for $1.99 elsewhere on the Web.
Intuit's GoPayment app lets you accept credit card payments via your Android phone without any additional hardware. After payment is approved, you can also quickly e-mail or text message an electronic receipt directly to the customer. Cost: $12.95 per month plus transaction fees.
Gmote turns your Android phone into a remote control for a computer, allowing users to run presentations, movies and music from a distance. It supports all of the standard remote control features including play, pause, rewind and volume controls, while a built-in file browser lets you select what to play. Cost: Free.
TripIt organizes your business travel plans into an itinerary that has all of your trip details in one place. Simply forward confirmation emails to email@example.com and TripIt will automatically build an itinerary for your trip that you can access anytime, either online or from a mobile device. Cost: Free for the basic version, $69 per year for the Pro edition, or $399 for a business version that covers up to 10 travelers and includes a Group Manager.
DLP Mobile's Universal Translator features a dual interface that lets users take turns speaking into the phone running the app. After the first user says something in one language, it's automatically translated and played back in the other user's language by an accurately accented computerized voice. Very handy for international travel. Cost: $1.99.
Twidroid--also known, curiously, as Twidroyd--is a Twitter client for Android. Cost: It's available both for free and as a commercial pro version for $3.99.
For companies using Microsoft Exchange, DataViz's RoadSync app allows you to sync an Android device with your company's Exchange servers using ActiveSync technology, allowing you to get push e-mail and rich HTML messages. E-mail, contacts and calendar appointments can all be synced using the app. Cost: $9.99, with a 14-day free trial on the Android Market.
9. Zagat to Go
If you ever entertain business clients, Zagat to Go can be a life-saver when it comes to finding a restaurant or other venue. The app includes up-to-the minute Zagat ratings and reviews for 40,000 restaurants, nightspots, hotels and shops around the world, and it features GPS support for help finding places nearby. "Best of" lists, meanwhile, can help identify the hottest hotspots. Cost: $9.99.
With LogMeIn, you can connect and control your computer right from your smartphone, giving you remote access to your work and home computers. No more worrying about leaving a file behind! Cost: $29.99.
11. MyBackup Pro
Rerware's MyBackup Pro brings BlackBerry-style backup capabilities to Android users. The app not only lets Android users back up their phone's data onto either the SD card or Rerware's secured online servers, it also allows them to back up application APK install files. So, in the case of a lost, damaged, reset or upgraded phone, users can restore the phone's data and applications easily on the existing phone, or a new one. Automated backups can also be scheduled. Cost: $4.99.
Follow Katherine Noyes on Twitter: @Noyesk.