The world of the future has some pretty great products to keep productive. Things like Google Calendar, Dropbox, Evernote, and a myriad of other services all aim to make our lives easier and more cloud-centric. Trouble is that these services are all separate. When a group you're working with adds a new event to a Google Calendar, adds some relevant files to Dropbox, and scribbles some notes in Evernote, that's three different sites you need to track.
Tablets have, historically, been less-than-ideal for productivity. Part of the problem is that developers are still trying to catch up to the new world of connected devices. One solution, as CloudOn demonstrates, is to bring together the best options from various platforms and merge them into a fluid product. CloudOn lets you use what appears to be remote access to Word, Excel, and Powerpoint from an Android tablet.
The app might be best utilized if you have a connected keyboard and mouse at times, as the UI is still very much the Windows-style.
Android has had some powerful to-do lists dating all the way back to Cupcake, but few are quite as nice-looking as 2Do, a recent entry (although Astrid's new design might be a solid contender). The $7 to-do list (yes, you read that right) does it's best to make itself worth the money. Tabbed calendars, the ability to attach photos, starred tasks, and a selection of themes make it one of the nicer to-do lists we've used.
In the never-ending move to digitize and mobilize your entire world, some areas (like banking) are slower than others (like email). When the old guard does update, though, usually we get something pretty cool. Rite Aid is the latest entry to join in the mobile world and it's bringing with it yet another piece of the future: scanning pill bottles to refill your prescriptions.
It's not the first app to implement this kind of feature, but it's always welcome to see more options.
Astrid has been one of the most popular To-Do list apps for Android for years. Today it's getting a facelift and a few extra features. Most notably, Astrid now has a spiffy tablet UI. Making use of the Fragments API, Astrid lays out your Lists panel, your individual tasks, and details on each individual task for easy access. Like so:
Simple, straightforward, and easy. The new UI is being added to more than just tablets, though.
Each month, Research2Guidance puts out a report on Android Market paid apps, which includes how they stack up against each other. The current state of the Market is somewhat of a surprise, as weather and business apps hold the top two grossing spots, with productivity, media & video, and books & reference rounding out the top five. However, one of the most downloaded categories on the Market - games - doesn't show up on the list until number seven, suggesting users would rather download a free game, rather than pay for one.
Shopping lists. If you're in charge of food for a house with a lot of people, or just like to cook, they are a necessary evil.
How much do I need? Do I have some of that chicken left in the freezer? Is there enough cayenne left in that bottle for this recipe? You get the idea. Out of Milk aims to solve these problems and more - it's an app devoted (almost) solely to the organization of your food purchases and pantry stock.
I have a couple requirements for any application that wants to help me with organization: it has to have a functional desktop client to sync to. This is nothing against Android's system, but I find that if I have to do any extended typing on it, my enthusiasm for the app fails (coincidentally, along with my time management skills). This is what's kept me from using Astrid with the enthusiasm everyone seems to be talking about; all my time isn't spent on my phone, so why should I leave my tasks there?
I've never been a big proponent of using folders on my home screen; I'm the kind of guy that can fit all the apps he uses frequently on a 5x5 grid. With the possible exception for a "Games" folder, I find them pretty useless. I mean, the app drawer itself is one big folder, and if there's anything I really need to access, it goes on my front page.
However, I've been playing around with a tool that's making the maintenance and use of folders a bit more practical.
If you're anything like me, you text constantly. There are times, however, that I put my phone down and hop on the computer to do some more in-depth tasks or just enjoy some good, old-fashioned big-screen browsing. When I'm doing that, it's usually a pain to receive a text message, have to dig out my phone, open the messaging app, and use a tiny keyboard to reply, even though I'm sitting at a much larger, easier to use keyboard.