October 1, 2014

The Best Business App for Android Isn't An App

It got off to a slow start, but Android is gaining appeal among business users. That isn’t to say there aren’t any issues. There are many. Still, an evolving platform allows Google and its developers to overcome these issues. Even now businesses can benefit by using Android devices.

In the past year we’ve seen plenty of business-focused apps hit the market. This will make the platform more appealing to corporate users. Personal organization apps, such as PocketInformant, help keep people organized. You Keep Your Money tracks expenses. Yet these don’t cover the most important business app of all: the office suite. The ability to create and edit documents and spreadsheets remains a top priority for a business handset. What does Android offer in that regard?

Documents To Go has always been a popular documents platform, but there’s a hitch with that. No, it’s not the $30 price tag. It’s that it was recently purchased by Research In Motion. That means, at the very least, that the company’s efforts will focus on BlackBerry. Will they even continue developing the Android versions? Indications are yes, but I’m not sure it will get the attention it deserves. Thankfully, Android has an ace in the hole, an in-house documents solution that can trump Docs To Go.

Not long ago Google announced that users could edit their Google Docs items right from their Android devices. This is a major step forward for the platform. It’s still not an ideal solution — you’re still using your web browser rather than a full-fledged app — but it’s a signal that we’re going to see bigger and better things with Google Docs on Android. And why not? It’s Google’s platform, and it’s Google’s document services. Once they get the full suite running at full capacity on Android, it could be a much more attractive destination for business users.

With full Exchange support, plus a full suite of office apps, Google should be able to make some headway into enterprise. Once it does that, I imagine that we’ll see even more business-focused apps in the Market. Which will in turn make the platform even more appealing for businesses. Round and round it goes.

Photo by pittaya.

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