Smartphones and tablets are gradually becoming more and more powerful with Android leading the way as the number one operating system for touchscreen, portable computing. Now we find ourselves reaching a point where the lines between ‘computers’ and ‘mobile devices’ are becoming blurred as more people are starting to use these smaller gadgets for true productivity and media creation.
The good news is that Android is up to the task. Compared with iOS, Android is a much more flexible operating system that allows apps to communicate with one another, that allows you to browse your files and that doesn’t have too many crippling restrictions in terms of what apps are allowed to do.
But there still aren’t that many apps out there that truly take advantage of the power of modern Android devices. As most users want their devices for consumption and casual uses rather than for productivity, the demand hasn’t quite motivated enough developers to make serious software that can really produce yet.
That said though, there are a few options on the Play Store that are useful for improving your productivity and getting more done. Here we will look at some of the most powerful Productivity Apps For Android.
ShareKM is short for ‘Share Keyboard and Mouse’ and is a spin on the usual ‘use your Android to control your PC’ concept. This time the sharing goes the other way, allowing you to control your Android with your computers mouse and keyboard by simply moving your mouse off the edge of the screen (you get to define which edge). This can work over WiFi or Bluetooth if you have root access, or otherwise over a USB. Go into your developer options and prevent screen timeout while charging, then plug your Android in and run it in Portrait using a kickstand. Now you can easily type out text messages without interrupting your workflow, or even use it as a second monitor for browsing the web and looking-up information.
If you’re going to be using your Android device with ShareKM then you’ll want an interface that’s built for keyboard and mouse input. That’s Multiscreen Multitasking which allows you to run various ‘mini apps’ and widgets on your phone in resizable windows – much like a PC desktop. This can also be useful for browsing two pages at once, answering texts without losing your page, or writing notes down from a source online without having to flick between apps. Check out the best android apps for business here to run business smoothly.
If you want a real desktop to work with though, then the next logical step is OnLive Desktop. This will only work on devices with large screen sizes, but if your phone fits that criteria then this will allow you to control a remote desktop complete with cloud storage, MSOffice and Internet Explorer. Great if you’re away from your computer but need to edit documents for work.
SplashTop Remote is similar to OnLive Desktop except it will give you access to your PC as long as it’s on and you have a secure connection. If you have a fast PC, a good connection and a powerful phone then this can provide almost a seamless experience and even allow you play some games!
The next step up from streaming a Windows desktop is to run a desktop OS right on your device. With root access this can mean running Ubuntu Linux, while other versions can be installed without root giving you access to a number of powerful programs that you wouldn’t be able to run through Android. Check out developers apps for android.
An easier way to get office software on your Android though is simply to install the office software Microsoft has developed for Android – finally. Office Mobile is a stripped down version of Microsoft Office, but it’s still just great news that it’s on there at all. If you don’t have a subscription though, then Kingsoft Office is a great free alternative.
If you’re a programmer and work doesn’t mean writing office documents, then it may well mean programming apps for Android. What better way to do this then than coding them directly on a device that you can run them on? With AIDE – Android IDE – that’s exactly what you get and in many ways it’s actually much more ‘plug and play’ than even Eclipse on the PC for amazing convenience.
The contributor of this post, Henry Smith, unlocks LG phones at Cellphone Unlocker. His favorite pastime is reading tech magazines such as Wired and Technology Review.