Microsoft has their own mobile platform that they are pushing users to as much as possible, well maybe they could improve that, with Windows Phone, or Windows Mobile or whatever it is being called this month. Anyhow, Microsoft are working on becoming more of a software and services company rather than just a computer OS maker. With this transition comes the necessity to support platforms other than your own, whether your supporters like it or not. With that in mind, Microsoft has been focusing quite a bit on Android and iOS development for many of their software offerings. Many that support the Windows Phone platform, myself included, would appreciate it if Microsoft would support that platform first then Android and iOS but well, software development is not ideal, nor advancing at the same pace, so we end up seeing Microsoft software on other platforms first. I am going to focus on Android for this article and point out a handful of software offerings from Microsoft that will help you in your daily life- especially those that have a business focus.
Microsoft Word and Office Mobile are great apps to have installed if you are needing something a word processing app that is a little more robust than the pre-installed note taking app. Office Mobile includes Excel and Powerpoint along with Word. These apps are instrumental in many business environments.
OneDrive is a great backup solution that will help users keep their files synced across multiple devices. This is another instrumental app to have installed. Sure, there is Google Drive but for me, I prefer OneDrive since I can use it on both Windows Phone and Android and my home computer without having to open a browser and deal with files that way.
Bing Rewards and Bing Search as a set are pretty interesting. Sure, you can simply use Google to search but with Bing, and a free Microsoft Account, that you need for most of these apps anyhow, adds up to being able to save money with certain services. You get points for searches that you perform using Bing Search. You can trade the points for stuff like Amazon credit, Windows Store (mobile and computer) credit and more. You are going to search anyhow, may as well save some money doing it, right?
If you are not a fan of Bing Search or want more than just search out of your phone then check out Microsoft Bing Torque. With Bing Torque you can shake your phone to activate the app then simply talk and tell your phone what you want, hands free. This is the closest app I have seen on Android that comes close to the functionality of Cortana on Windows Phone. You can take notes, call someone, open apps, etc with Bing Torque.
Okay, those apps are great once you get into your Android device, after it is unlocked but what about that lock screen? With Next Lock Screen, everything you need is right there. See a message from someone? Simply swipe it and the lock screen goes away and automatically loads the message in whatever app it was in. You don’t have to unlock, swipe down from the top of the screen to get to the notification area then tap the message (or scroll if you have a lot of alerts). Very nice option for someone short on time such as a business person on the go.
Then there is Microsoft Remote Desktop Beta. This is much like other apps that allow you to remotely access your computer but there are a few options that set this app apart from the rest. You can access the full computer, not just the desktop, multitouch enabled over a secure network and even stream audio and video. Great for those times you forgot to send an important report off but you are already out of the office or, worse yet, already home.
Lastly, for those that are tired of Android and the constant alerts that come through on it (such as when a Youtube channel you follow has uploaded a new video) there is the Switch to Windows Phone app. This app will help move things over from your Android phone to your Windows Phone as painlessly as possible. This can even be done through OneDrive. Things that can be moved over include videos, music, photos, texts and contacts.
Do you know about a great app for a busy professional that is not listed here? How about an alternative to those listed?