By some estimates, there are more than 400,000 iPhone apps and more than 300,000 Android apps on the market today. That makes it very difficult for the average businessperson to weed out the bad apps and focus on the good ones.
Well, I have some good news.
I’m currently writing a book called Go Mobile with Jeanne Hopkins, who is the Director of Marketing at HubSpot.
In the process of doing research for the book, we’ve narrowed down what we think are some of the best apps to improve productivity, provide news and information and help you connect with customers and prospects.
Here’s our list of the 45 best apps for businesspeople. It’s not a complete list, so if we missed any of your favorites, let us know in the comment section below.
News and Information Applications
ABC News Mobile: This application is for all those who love to be in the know. You can receive text alerts about breaking news, watch video, listen to podcasts or read articles all on your mobile phone.
CNN Mobile: Interested in staying up-to-date on the latest news from around the globe? CNN Mobile gives you the ability to read the latest stories and watch CNN live on your smartphone.
Google Books: Interested in re-reading the Declaration of Independence or Dante’s Inferno? Download Google Books to your smartphone and you’re ready to roll. I’m reading Ben Franklin’s Autobiography on Google Books right now and it’s fascinating.
Google Maps: What would men do without Google Maps? They’d have to ask for directions, which, of course, will never happen. Fortunately, Google invented their Map app for guys (like myself) who are too stubborn to stop and ask directions.
There are hundreds of thousands of smartphone apps. Which ones are best for business? Here's our list.
The Huffington Post: The mobile version of this popular news and opinion online newspaper features breaking news, blogs and original content.
Kindle: You can use your smartphone to preview books that you might like to buy later. Clean and customizable, the app permits you to preview the first chapter, as well as to add bookmarks, notes, and highlights.
MobiTV: Missing your favorite TV shows is no longer an issue. With MobiTV you can watch shows whenever and wherever on your mobile phone.
NPR News: Even if you can’t catch all of the news from NPR at home or in the car, you can still start your day with NPR News for your smartphone. You can listen to national news stories on demand, or allow the app to use your smartphone’s GPS to pinpoint local content.
Stitcher: This mobile application lets you get your news on the go by streaming up-to-date audio content about business, sports, politics and entertainment.
The Weather Channel: The Weather Channel’s app and the mobile version of weather.com provide up to date weather information, text alerts, animated maps and more.
Windows Live Messenger: You can chat with your friends on Windows Live Messenger on the go with their mobile application.
CamCard: Let’s you scan business cards and automatically add that information to your phone’s contact list and/or your Outlook or Gmail account.
Evernote: After you create a text note, photo or audio note, you can synch them to your pc or to the web.
Instapaper: Through Instapaper you can save Web articles you browsed on your iPhone for later reading, using a browser bookmarklet. The Instapaper Website reformats your saved articles (sans Flash ads and clutter) for quick reading on the desktop.
Yammer: Yammer brings together all of a company’s employees inside a private, secure enterprise social network. This enterprise platform lets businesses set up a Twitter-like service allowing for the open exchange of ideas, links, and documents within enterprise communities.
Bloomberg Mobile: Use this app when you’re on the go to access financial news, stock quotes, company descriptions, market leaders and laggers, price charts, market-trends analysis, customized lists of stocks, and more.
CNNMoney: With breaking business stories and complete in-depth market coverage in a customizable format, CNNMoney provides real-time reporting of financial news and analysis, as well as data and charts.
Expensify: Takes some of the hassle out of creating expense reports by allowing you to report expenses as they happen while you’re on the move.
iStockManager: For continuous access to – and control over – your TD Ameritrade account, use iStockManager. You can get equity and option trading, streaming data, real-time balances and positions, news, and more on your mobile device.
XE Currency: Convert the currencies of more than 180 countries at up-to-the-minute rates. The app saves the last conversion just in case you may need to repeat it offline, too.
1Password: To maintain your usernames and passwords on your iPhone in one place, try 1Password. The mobile app syncs with the desktop version, as well. If you wish, you can use it to store other personal information, too, such as your Social Security number and credit card numbers.
Barcode Scanner: Barcode Scanner handles bar codes – including 2D QR codes – and lets you look up the associated product or URL for instant price checks and comparison shopping.
Craigsphone: Search and browse Craigslist posts near your current GPS location, and bookmark relevant listings, with Craigsphone. The app also has tools for posting your own listings with photos and maps.
PageOnce: Use PageOnce to track credit card transactions, check your bank account status, monitor frequent-flyer miles and itineraries, and get alerts when bills are due and itineraries change.
Analytics App: Full mobile service for your Google Analytics data. You can check everything from reports to specific data, and the tidy interface makes it even easier to navigate than the web-based service.
AntiDroidTheft: If you lose your phone, AntiDroidTheft turns on remote GPS tracking so that you can determine its location. You can also trigger the phone’s camera to shoot an image that might help you locate the handset.
AndroZip: The powerful AndroZip File Manager works with archives, including 7ZIPhone, BZIP2, GZIPhone, RAR, TAR, and ZIPhone files. You can use it to create GZIP, TAR, or ZIPhone archives, too. Free.
Fring: Really cool mobile app that lets you place free calls or chat with anyone from your Skype, ICQ, Google Talk, MSN, Twitter, or SIP contacts.
SmrtGuard: Can remotely track – and lock – your smartphone if it goes missing. The Pro version lets you perform automatic wireless backup and restore.
Soonr: Need to access your PC directly from the handset? Enter Soonr, a free mobile client that brings remote PC access to your phone: search files, view documents, check emails, run programs and more.
Talk to Me: Originally, Talk To Me translated only English, French, Spanish, German, and Italian, with its speech-to-speech functionality. Now it has many other languages from which to choose.
Vlingo: Replaces every instance where you have to type on your smartphone with voice commands. It covers your phone’s basic messaging functions, voice calls, Facebook updates, and personal notes. On Android and BlackBerry, the app will even read your incoming messages to you.
Social and Location-Based Applications
Bump: This is a terrific application that allows you to exchange contact information, photos, social networking information and calendar events just by “bumping” your phone with another Bump user.
Facebook: You can update your Facebook page on the fly with their mobile version. You can even update your Facebook Places profile, which lets people know where you’re eating, drinking, relaxing or just hanging out.
Foursquare: Ready to “check-in” to your favorite restaurant, bar, mall or retail store? If you do it enough, you’ll become Mayor or be eligible for discount coupons.
Google+: This is much like Facebook, only better. (Seriously.) If the cluttered atmosphere of Facebook drives you a little batty, click this link and accept our invitation to join Google+.
Gowalla: Much like Foursquare, Gowalla allows you to share your location with friends, all the while accumulating digital souvenirs that may be redeemable for real life rewards.
Hootsuite: Using HootSuite, you can manage your Facebook and Twitter accounts within an elegant, clean user interface. HootSuite stands out from other social network managers for its extra features: You can schedule updates, set columns to monitor keywords and hash tags, and translate updates in other languages .
LinkedIn: Ready to exchange LinkedIn contacts just by bumping your phone? Or perhaps you want read someone’s profile while you’re waiting for them at a restaurant. If that sounds enticing, then this application is for you.
Loopt: Allows you to connect with your friends by sharing your location and status with friends. With Loopt, you can find your friends on a map and view their photo and status updates in real-time.
Mass Text Message: Text up to ten friends with just one click by downloading the Mass Text Message app and creating custom groups of contacts.
Qik: A new, faster way to share videos with all of your friends, Qik allows you to record and instantly upload videos to the internet or stream live video straight from your phone. You can also 2-way video chat or send video mail.
Skype: Verizon Wireless users can now use Skype through their phones with free Skype-to-Skype calling and IM without using their mobile minutes. Users with other carriers can get a Skype To Go number that they can reach from any mobile phone.
Twitter: You don’t have to be sitting behind a desk to update your Twitter status. The mobile version lets you stay connected wherever you are.
Yelp: This application can give you restaurant reviews on the fly. Better still, their augmented reality mobile application lets you look through your mobile screen and places tags with reviews over the restaurants on that street.
YouTube: You can now check out the latest YouTube craze straight from your mobile phone. You can search for and watch videos or record and upload your own videos.
Did we miss anything on our list? If so, just provide the name, description and URL of your favorite mobile phone apps in the comment section below.
Jamie Turner is the co-author of How to Make Money with Social Media. He is the Founder of the 60 Second Marketer and is also a popular marketing speaker at events, trade shows and corporations around the globe. His next book, Go Mobile, will be published by John Wiley & Sons in 2012.