5 mobile cloud apps I can’t live without

It’s been about two months or so since I dumped my old Nokia 5800 and its Symbian OS, vowed never to go back and switched to Android 2.2 via a HTC Desire. It has been a revelation. Back in October 2009 I wrote an article called Falling Out Of Love With Smartphones. It’s the sort of article you fire off when pissed off and which later comes back to bite you in the proverbial and makes you look a bit of an arse and forces you to eat humble pie.

Now, having had some time to give the HTC a good workout I am convinced that smartphones and mobility will be one of the big factors in cloud computing take up. The reason for this is ready accessibility to your data at virtually any time or place. If you are out at a business lunch you may not have taken your laptop and cannot get to some files that your lunch companion suddenly requires. However, the odds are that you will have your smartphone close at hand and that is all you need as I shall explain.

mobilecloud

Dropbox

Some weeks ago I was writing an article for a Canadian blog and, as is my practise, it was backed up to Dropbox. I went to work and decided to carry on writing the article in my lunchtime but my organisation’s computers don’t have Dropbox so accessing the document was impossible. Well, not quite. I accessed Dropbox via my HTC, downloaded the file to my phone and then emailed it to my work address. It took a matter of minutes. Writing the article in Google Docs would not have saved me as my organisation blocks that side of the Apps package. Dropbox is just one of the apps that is changing the way that I live and work – I know it sounds overly dramatic but it is true.

SugarSync

Since I have given up on Mozy for my backup service I have revisited SugarSync and not only can I use it for file syncing and sharing like Dropbox but I can access files in the Web Archive folder which is pure backup, it doesn’t synchronise with anything. I could never have accessed Mozy to retrieve backed up files, so this is a win-win situation. Now it may sound strange using both SugarSync and Dropbox, but I kind of like the belt and braces security that this arrangement affords me. Plus,in the rare instance of one the services being offline I can always access the other.

Evernote

Like a growing army of people I use Evernote as my heavyweight webclipping and research tool. It is seamless in storing either slices of information cut and stored or entire web pages. Last week Evernote updated its Android app with even greater functionality which you can read on the Evernote blog. Accessing notes or clippings on my HTC is very simple and if I was more organised in allocating tags it would be even more easy.

Springpad

While I use Evernote for webclipping I don’t use it for day to day notes. For that I rely heavily on Springpad, an app that is developing into one of my must haves on desktop PC, netbook and smartphone. It has an attractive, intuitive interface and an easy to create folder structure that allows me to create quick notes, scan barcodes and retain that data and even take photographs which are uploaded to Springpad for access on my desktop or netbook later.

SafeWallet

If you are like me you have years worth of passwords, key personal data etc which you need to keep safe and for this I use a programme called SafeWallet from SBSH which sits both on my desktop PC and on my smartphone. All data is synchronised via Dropbox meaning anything I update using the convenience of typing on a desktop PC into SafeWallet gets stored in a SafeWallet folder on Dropbox which my smartphone can track. SafeWallet is available on the Android, Blackberry and iPhone platforms.

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Kevin Tea is a journalist and marketing communications professional who has worked for some of the leading blue chip companies in the UK and Europe. In the 1990s he became interested in how emerging Internet-based technologies could change the way that people worked and became an administrator on the Telework Europa Forum on CompuServe. With other colleagues he took part in a four year European Commission sponsored project to look at the way that the Internet could benefit remote communities. His blog is a resource for SMEs who want to use cloud computing and Web 2.0 technologies.