My cell phone usage for work was so much less in the past. Today, the app explosion for smartphones has rendered these portable little gizmos computers in their own right.
Whether it’s an iPhone, Blackberry, or Android-based device, there are apps available for nearly everything I used to only be able to do from a full computer. A sampling of apps I now have on my iPhone 3GS and their workflow relevance…
1. Trillian: a great IM platform that ties into multiple accounts such as AOL and Hotmail (among others). I can now chat in real-time with a wifi or 3G data connection with my coworkers while at various locations away from the office. Great for letting people know of last-minute schedule changes or asking quick questions of co-workers.
2. Salesforce: being able to reach into fields of data in our Salesforce database from a phone is a very powerful tool. Looking up contact and account information as well as opportunities, tasks, and events is a real boon when out on the road.
3. Chatter for Salesforce: Being able to dip my toes almost immediately in the “stream” of ongoing internal company conversations with my phone is another nice feature.
4. Apps from online retail sites like BestBuy and NewEgg provide handy, easy ways to search for new technologies and products, as well as customer reviews and ratings, while passing that 5 minutes waiting for an appointment or meeting to start.
5. The obvious foundational smartphone apps for today like Twitterific for Twitter, the Facebook app and the LinkedIn app were not-so-obvious as foundations apps a year ago. Today, not having these on your mobile phone places you a generation ago in terms of technology!
6. The Dark Horse: Chipotle! Having a burrito paid for and waiting for me at the counter is a great way to minimize down time in a busy day out and about!
The moral of this story: I used to dread cell phones for their intrusiveness into my privacy. I still do when it comes to voice calls. But the enhancements to my lifestyle and workflow efficiency provided by the mobile app universe have converted me. I now feel “slow”, “inefficient”, and even “lost” at times when I realize my battery has died or, worse, I left my iPhone at home or the office.