November App review: Some 10 useful apps for the SME entrepreneur


This month I have decided to make an app review that people who run SMEs might find useful. My mother always tells me to speak only on matters that I know so there are two caveats to this post:

  • I own an android device so I will only be reviewing apps that I have actually used in my small business as well as personally. If you have used an iOS or Windows version of the app please feel free to share your experiences. The same applies if you are a die hard Blackberry user who still swears by their platform.

  • There is a mind numbing number of Android apps there. I have limited myself to Apps that actually use or have had the opportunity to use. Again if you feel an app should have made it to the list feel free to air your views in the comment section.

  1. Zol Lite VoIP  If you somehow missed the memo you should know that ZOL is now part of the Econet family so Econet VoIP and ZOL VoIP are essentially the same service.  In addition to an Android app the software is available for both Windows and Mac operating systems. Unfortunately they do not have an iOS app yet. On net calls are free whilst calls to other networks are billed at $0.12 per minute. Whilst you are not going to hastily use this to replace Skype ( you are not going to be making a lot of on net calls here.) A soft-phone  would be a good way to having an office line without visiting Telone.

  2. Africom Guroo A lot has been said about Guroo, one of its distinct advantages over ZOL Lite is that you can easily sign up for the service online, download the app ( you can get Windows and iOs version but there is no Mac client) buy Africom airtime and start making calls. For $10 you can make unlimited calls to Africom numbers whilst off net calls are billed at $0.12 per minute.

  3. Sky Drive and Office Mobile                                                                                                        If you spend a lot of time out of the office and on the road then these two are useful apps to have. They allow you to continue to work on your Word documents and spread sheets whilst on the road. I have found that Office Mobile is not the kind of tool you want to make your primary Office suit though, besides burning a hole in your data budget ( considering the fortune that our providers charge for data) it is not ideal for creating lengthy documents and reports so you would be best advised to use it when making minor corrections to your documents provided the documents are not be too large themselves.

  4. Google Drive and Google Docs                                                                                                    If you are like me and are bound to sometimes hate Microsoft for no apparent reason or perhaps are a fan of Google’s Enterprise tools then Google Drive is an app you want to have instead of Office Mobile. Just as with Office Mobile you should really watch you plan when using this service. 

  1. Kingsoft Office                                                                                                                              Kingsoft Office ( screenshot above) is a full featured office suite that you can download from the Play Store for free. It opens and can edit Word Documents, Excel Spreadsheets as well as PowerPoint presentations. The great news is that once you have downloaded this app it does not have to constantly go online like other Office suites like Quick Office-it is a fully stand alone office suit.

  2. Data Usage Defender                                                                                                              That mobile data is expensive is platitude. Data usage defender offers a way out of this fix however. It provides you with a sort of firewall you can use to block apps that hog data from say using your mobile internet connection. These apps are only allowed to connect to the internet using WiFi only for example that way your data bundles can last longer. The downside though is that this app can only be installed if you have rooted your device. The app also features a hand speed test feature as well as a per app data usage analysis

  3. Aldiko                                                                                                                                          This app allows you to read ebooks in ePub format whether its Kiyosaki spiels or textbooks. The advantage of this App unlike most is that it does not require an internet connection to function and even if you have an internet connection it does not go online and make unsolicited connections to bookstores like the Kindle or Nook apps so you can concentrate on the book knowing your data bundle is safe.

  4. Oxford Concise Dictionary                                                                                                          I consider myself pretty smart (I think I know a lot of words) but how many times have you encountered a word when you were just not sure what the meaning was. An offline dictionary on your phone would be a handy app. This is not a free app. For the cost of $5 you can get one of the world’s most famous dictionaries. Once you have installed the package you should launch it preferably whilst still using a WiFi connection and download the dictionary’s entire data packages this way you can use it offline without an active internet connection.

  5. WhatsApp                                                                                                                                     We all know this app and what it does. In addition to it being a cheap way of getting in touch with friends and family I have discovered it is a great way of keeping in touch with customers. This is where some of its least used features like group chat and broadcast messages come in handy so be sure to checkout the Whatsapp FAQ page here.

  6. Adobe Reader                                                                                                                            Pdf has long been a popular document format in businesses and despite a host of pdf readers Adobe is still the best.

Images via: Google Play store

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