My hubby recently decided that we should upgrade our phones, and we both went the Android route. I've spent a good bit of time setting things up for both personal and business use, and in the process I've come across some great apps that should improve my productivity.
Here are five of my favorite Android apps so far (all free) that might be of interest to freelance writers, authors, and bloggers.
I now have more than 55 installations of WordPress to deal with (monitor spam, run updates, etc.). I've already talked about why I won't use a single site service to manage and upgrade everything at once -- mostly security and plugin compatibility issues on a few of the sites.
This plugin is already making my life easier. Even when I'm not in my office or I'm sick in bed, I can pull up my WordPress admin panels (without combining them) and take care of any vital tasks for that day. I'm betting this is the app I'll get the most use out of.
I have a lot of Twitter accounts which are tied to those various blogs, in addition to my main account that I use for most of my networking. The Hootsuite app makes it easy for me to monitor any of those accounts on the go. So far I'm using it mostly as a listening tool rather than to tweet more frequently. It's helping me keep up on others' updates a bit better.
3. Tasks N Todos
This is my to-do list app of choice (after trying at least a half dozen of them). I'm currently using it mostly for long-term to-do lists. It's simple, clean, and easy for me to segment my lists. Those were some of my biggest concerns. I didn't want a bloated app. And I needed to be able to easily separate lists based on pen names and sites / projects.
Swype is still in beta, so if that concerns you then you might want to wait on this app. It's a speech-to-text app from Nuance (the people who bring us Dragon Naturally Speaking, which I also have and love -- although I don't use it enough).
I hate typing on those tiny touch screens, so a speech-to-text app was a must. The built-in capability was actually pretty good. The only issue I had with that was the fact that I couldn't use all of the commands I wanted to -- "new line," "quotes," etc. for longer documents. That's why I installed Swype, and so far so good.
The only downside of Swype is that it doesn't type as I speak. You record it, turn off the recorder, and then your test pops up. It's a little awkward sometimes, but so far the results have been perfect, so I can't complain. I just view it a paragraph at a time instead of word by word.
If you're used to using Google Doc (now a part of Google Drive) to collaborate with clients and colleagues, this is a great app for you. It basically gives you access to files shared with you via Google Drive, and you can use it to create, edit, and share documents and spreadsheets.
6. Olive Office Premium
This app allows you to open, edit, and create various file types on your Android device. For example, you can use it to read Microsoft Word and .pdf files. In addition to being able to read a variety of file types, you can create new Word and Excel files with the app as well.
This app enables you to use your device's camera to create .pdf documents. This is a great tool if you're conducting research and you need to archive a few pages from different sources. Or you could use it to get an immediate digital backup of a signed contract. If you want to pay for premium access you can also use the app to send faxes.
8. ES File Explorer
This is the app I use to access documents across my home office network (like getting work files off of my laptop without having to physically go get my laptop or work in my office. I'm sure there are plenty of similar apps out there, but this one was so good from the start that I didn't have any reason to look elsewhere. It was fairly simple to use, and it got the job done. Really, what else do you need when it comes to file transfers?
Writer is a super-scaled-back word processor for your Android device. It's like a basic text editor in that you don't have a lot of links and buttons distracting you on-screen. But you can still use traditional word processing features (like bold, italics, lists, and header styles) with some simple markup.
My favorite feature is that it autosaves things instead of you doing it manually. That makes it a great tool for quick notes when you're out and about. Just open it, use Swype to dictate, and shut it down with one click. No need to manually save and name things. That said, I probably wouldn't use it for more complicated documents for that very reason. I could see it being a great tool for transcribing face to face interviews though.
10. Pomodoro Tracker
I'm a big fan of the Pomodoro method for breaking up my work days. One of the best ways many of us can get more done is to keep ourselves on deadline. But it's equally important that we take adequate breaks so we don't burn out (which ultimately can lead to procrastinating).
This method (and the app) does both. It lets you follow the typical strategy of working for 25 minute blocks, followed by 5 minute breaks (with a longer break after four work sessions). But you can also set your own pomodoro session and break lengths, as well as changing the interval between the longer breaks.
Perhaps the best thing about this app is that it lets you set goals for how many pomodoros you want to do each day. If you upgrade to the premium version you can also review your pomodoro history.
While these are my personal favorite Android apps for writers and bloggers so far, here are a few runners-up you might want to try as well:
What are your favorite Android apps, and why would you recommend them to other writers, authors, and bloggers? Tell us about them in the comments.