40 Android Apps to Boost Your Productivity

Over the last few years, smartphones have become an integral part of our lives with most of us depending on them to help organize our work and personal lives. From primarily being communication tools, phones are quickly growing into swiss-army knives for everything we do on a daily basis – be it taking notes, maintaining todo lists for work and home, managing schedules or tracking what we do.

In this article, we will look at some of the best Android applications that can help you be more productive at work as well as in your personal life. Now there is no dearth of notes and todo list applications on the Android Market, but this is a list of some of the best ones out there.

Notes

Diaro

Diaro is a personal diary or journal application targeted at people who want to note down their thoughts, experiences and insights on a regular basis. Unlike a lot of other applications in this list, Diaro is not built for quick note-taking. The interface makes it easy to see which days you wrote, and shows a preview of the entries for each day. You can attach any number of images to each entry, making this a good tool to also capture key moments in a day. Most importantly, all your entries are password protected.

Diaro

Diaro

Price: Free

Evernote

Evernote is one of the most popular universal note taking applications out there with clients for the web and most desktop and mobile platforms. With the Android application, you can create text notes or image notes with your phone’s camera. All notes are stored in the cloud and you can search, edit or delete notes from the application. Categorization options include folders and tags. The only downside is that there’s no free offline access to notes, which means you need to be connected to a data network to be able to search and access your notes (unless you have a paid Premium account).

Evernote

Evernote

Price: Free (Premium costs $5/month or $45/year)
Full review: Evernote

 

Springpad

Springpad is similar to Evernote in many ways, with an excellent web app, a native Chrome application and mobile apps for the iOS and Android. Unlike Evernote though, Springpad comes with free offline access to your entire notes database and some excellent features for organizing notes. The visually rich interface with its notes stacks and custom backgrounds is innovative, but can take a while to get used to for new users.

Springpad

Springpad

Price: Free
Full review: Springpad

 

Extensive Notes

Think of Extensive Notes as the swiss army knife of note-taking on Android. The application is chock-full of features – some of them not even remotely related to note-taking – I keep coming across new features every time I use it. Aside from a bunch of different note types, you get to-do lists, calculators of various types, unit conversion, Google Translate, lyrics search, album art search… I could go on and on. Just check out the insanely long description in the application’s market page.

Extensive Notes

Extensive Notes

Price: Free

 

Catch Notes

Another one in the Web and Mobile based notes applications, Catch Notes takes a much simpler, clutter-free approach. You register for an account at catch.com and all your notes are synced online, ready for you to access anywhere. Note types include text, image, image gallery, audio and reminders. In case you would rather avoid creating a new user account on another web service, you can also use your Google account to sign in to the application and sync your notes.

Catch Notes

Catch Notes

Price: Free

 

Note Everything

Note Everything is a very simple note taking application with support for multiple types of notes and the ability to categorize them in folders. The interface resembles a physical notepad, which I don’t really fancy too much because of the added clutter, but might be a selling point for some. An interesting and potentially useful feature is the ability to import Palm and Outlook memos directly into the application.

Note Everything

Note Everything

Price: Free

 

Epistle

Unlike some of the higher profile applications in this list, Epistle takes a different approach to syncing your notes online – it uses Dropbox. All your notes are saved to your Dropbox folder and therefore synced with every device you have Dropbox installed on. In terms of features, Epistle is pretty barebones and allows for only plain text notes (it doesn’t even have bullet lists), which makes it super snappy and a good option for quick, no-nonsense note-taking.

Epistle

Epistle

Price: Free
Full review: Epistle

 

Mobisle Notes To Do

Mobisle Notes is one of the better looking note applications on the Android Market. This one again uses the physical notepad as a visual metaphor for its design, but manages to keep it subtle enough that you can focus on the writing part. Notes are of two types – plain text and todo – where the latter simply adds a checkbox at the beginning of each line of text. You can easily switch between both formats by tapping a button at the bottom of the screen. Although notes are locally stored in the free version, there is a Pro version that includes Google Docs sync.

Epistle

Epistle

Price: Free (~$1.50 for the Pro version)

 

Tofu Notes

At first glance, it is easy to mistake Tofu Note for an iOS application. The beautifully rendered graphics and attention to detail is not a very common trait in Android applications. At its core, Tofu Notes is a very simple note-taking application that is best suited for quick lists and snippets of information. The ‘coming soon’ list boasts some interesting features that the developers have lined up, including online sync.

Tofu Notes

Tofu Notes

Price: Free

 

InkPad Notes

InkPad Notes takes the pen and paper concept a step further; as well as having notepad-style background graphics, the font mimics a real life hand-drawn feel. One interesting feature in InkPad Notes is the ability to share notes with others as a text message, e-mail, etc. This can also be used as a crude way to back up your notes by sending them to your e-mail address.

InkPad Notes

InkPad Notes

Price: Free

 

ColorNote Notepad Notes

The granddaddy of Android note-taking applications. ColorNote Notepad Notes has been around for a while and has raked up in excess of 5 million downloads to date. And not without reason. The application is full to the brim with features like color coding for notes, checklists, calendar integration, password lock and more. It also has a pretty nifty set of widgets for quick access to your notes.

ColorNote Notepad

ColorNote Notepad

Price: Free

 

Slide Notes

Another take on the notebook-as-an-interface approach, Slide Notes tries to add a new twist to the metaphor by letting you slide through a horizontal stack of notes. The look and feel tries to mimic the look of a notebook down to the book cover, and is a bit too strong for my taste. You can also share notes over e-mail or on Twitter and Facebook if you have the respective applications already installed.

Slide Notes

Slide Notes

Price: Free

 

Todo/GTD

Taskos

Taskos is a simple yet powerful todo list manager for Android with a pretty rich set of features. It lets you add tasks by typing them in or dictating them using the voice recognition feature on Android phones, even straight from the home screen through the Taskos widget. One interesting feature is the ability to auto-complete names from your contact list, and call them right from inside the application. This can be a huge timesaver for tasks that involve calling people. Taskos syncs perfectly with Google Tasks, making it easy to add and edit tasks no matter where you are.

Taskos

Taskos

Price: Free

 

Astrid

Astrid has been around for a while, and with over a million downloads it is by far one of the most popular todo list applications on the Android Market. You can create tasks and organize them with tags, assign priorities, add notes, due dates and set alarms. The handy home screen widget does a good job of providing an at-a-glance views of what’s on your plate. Tasks can be synced with Google Tasks and Producteev (Astrid even had Remember The Milk integration, but that was removed a while back for non-compliance with RTM’s API guidelines). To top it all, Astrid is open-source, so if you have some development chops, you can contribute to make it even better.

Astrid

Astrid

Price: Free

 

WaToDo!

WAToDo takes the GTD approach for productivity and brings it to the Android platform to help users collect, manage and compete tasks on a day-to-day basis. The application lets you create tasks and assign them to projects and contexts, with support for unlimited sub-projects levels, repeating tasks and alarms. The interface is nice and colorful with heavy emphasis on the status of each task, project and context. It can be a bit overwhelming for regular users, but if you are a fan of David Allen’s GTD methodology, this one’s for you.

WaToDo

WaToDo

Price: $2.00 (Lite version available)

 

Action Complete

If you are like me and need an application to make a good first impression, you’re going to like Action Complete. The application brings a fresh look to the usual todo list arena and also comes with a strong set of features to boot. Based on the GTD methodology, the application lets you add tasks and organize them with tags, projects and contexts. It is a perfect companion to the ActionComplete web application and syncs perfectly between the mobile and web versions.

Action Complete

Action Complete

Price: Free ($4.99 Pro version available)

 

Remember the Milk

On the web, Remember the Milk is one of the most popular todo list managers. With a feature set second to none and a very powerful UI – including one of the best ‘quick add’ features out there – it has been my application of choice for a few years now. The Android application lives up the promise of its older sibling and delivers the same experience without compromising much on details. Even the quick add field works just like the web application. The only real downside is that the mobile application is no use unless you have a $25 per year RTM Pro account. You get a 10-day trial starting from the time you enter your login details in the Android application, but it will stop working once that period is over.

Remember the milk

Remember the milk

Price: Free (but useless without a $25/year RTM Pro account)

 

GTasks

When Google launched its tasks addon to GMail and then made it available as a standalone service a few months later, a lot of people declared other task list applications DOA. Fortunately for the other applications though, Google has been very slow in adding features and mobile applications to the product. That’s where GTasks comes into play. The application plays as a front-end to your Google Tasks list and bolsters the experience with a solid set of features one only wishes were available in the original Google Tasks on an Android Device. You can swipe across the screen to jump through different task lists and use gestures to interact with the todo items or change their status to “done”.

GTasks

GTasks

Price: Free

 

Action Method

From the makers of Behance, one of the most respected design portfolio services on the web: Action Method complements its sibling applications on the web and in physical printed paper format. The focus on visual design and usability clearly shows in the way the applications looks and behaves, with a very strong grey and blue branding and subtle gradients all over the place. All tasks are synced with the web version of the application and are available wherever you go. The application also has a collaborative aspect, which lets you manage task lists in a group by assigning them to colleagues and friends, and tracking the tasks to completion.

ActionMethod

ActionMethod

Price: Free

 

DGT GTD & ToDo

Another GTD implementation for the Android, this one comes with a disclaimer of being a work in progress. DGT GTD & ToDo is pretty solid for an Alpha build and works well for the most part. You get the usual set of features in a neat, clean interface that makes reviewing your pending tasks easy. You can create custom lists, export and import your tasks (which is pretty important since this is an Alpha version and may crash at times) and a promising list of features coming soon to the application. For fans of the GTD methodology, it’s worth giving this one a try.

DGT GTD & ToDo

DGT GTD & ToDo

Price: Free

 

noodles – ToDo List

I have no clue what would have led the developers to call their application ‘Noodles’, but it does make one sit up and take notice in the sea of similar applications on the market. Noodles is a minimal todo list management application that focuses on letting you get in and out quickly without having to spend time struggling with multiple controls. There is extensive use of drag and drop and gestures throughout the application, and the handy widget makes it easy to review what’s coming up right from the home screen.

Noodles ToDo List

Noodles ToDo List

Price: Free

 

Now Do This

In a market full of todo applications trying to cram in as many features as possible, here’s one that tries to go the other way. Now Do This takes an interesting approach to getting things done – do one thing at a time. The application’s interface is as minimal as it can get. The concept is pretty simple – you set yourself one task to focus on at a time, and be done with it before moving on to anything else. The application is based on the site NowDoThis.com, although it is not affiliated in any way and is a personal port from the developer.

Now Do This

Now Do This

Price: Free

 

Due Today

Due Today is another feature-packed todo list application for Android with a ton of features and a family of clients on different platforms. It is one of few applications in this category with a native Windows client and sync support for the ToodleDo.com web application. You can create tasks and sub-tasks, organize them in folders and with tags, assign due dates and priorities, set alarms and much more. It also provides multiple views to help you review your pending tasks from different perspectives.

Due Today

Due Today

Price: $2.99

 

Calendar

Jorte

If a lot of what you do on your phone revolves around the calendar, this is one application not to be missed. Jorte is a pretty little calendar application with a boat load of features and a price tag you can’t beat. You get the usual calendar with multiple views, synced with your Google Calendar, as well as memos, tasks and notes. The UI is pretty slick as well, although the default pink palette may not be for everyone. The good news is that it is also extremely customizable. When viewing events, elements like addresses and phone numbers are automatically highlighted, letting you tap them to quickly perform the respective tasks.

Jorte

Jorte

Price: Free

 

Calendar Pad Pro

Calendar Pad Pro is a minimalist and simple calendar application that has a few features and focuses on getting them right. You get three different views – day, month & week as well as the ability to have the current week and month on-screen at once using the widgets. Although there is a free version of the application available on the market, the Pro version comes with the ability to change calendar settings and customize colors to suit your style.

Calendar Pad Pro

Calendar Pad Pro

Price: ¥240 (~$3.00; free version available)

 

CalenGoo

CalenGoo is from the developers of the popular iOS application of the same name. The first thing that strikes you when you look at the application is how much information it packs on a tiny phone screen without looking too cluttered or unusable. The month view is a good example of good use of screen estate for information presentation. The daily view also does a good job of letting you see your engagements through the day and lets you easily work things around as necessary. The application also has a nice landscape mode for the week view. Like the name suggests, all your events are synced with Google Calendar and are available anywhere you go.

Calengoo

Calengoo

Price: €4.53 (about $6.50)

 

AA Task

Contrary to what the name suggests, AA Task is more of a scheduling application than a todo list manager. Heavily dependent on the calendar view that dominates the application’s interface, the application lets you add events, memos, anniversaries and more to the calendar and keep a track of everything from a single location. A master password can be set to keep anyone else from accessing your data.

AA Task

AA Task

Price: Free

 

Simple Calendar Widget

The simple calendar widget does something really simple by default – it shows your next appointment on the home screen. You can have multiple widgets showing, one each for a different calendar, all showing upcoming event or events, based on the preferences you set. You can customize the font and background color for each widget as well as the date display.

Simple Calendar Widget

Simple Calendar Widget

Price: Free

 

Pure Grid Calendar Widget

Pure Grid Calendar Widget takes an approach directly opposite that of the Simple Calendar Widget – it attempts to squeeze in as much information as possible in a home screen widget. You can set it to display the entire month, week or day, with color coded events and notes. The look & feel is customizable with different skins for each type of view. Events can be added as single events or repeating events with complex conditions like bi-weekly and bi-monthly events.

Pure Grid Calendar Widget

Pure Grid Calendar Widget

 

 

Price: €1.49 (about $2.10)

Business Calendar

Business Calendar is another calendar application that tries to cram as much information as it can into the calendar view on your phone, with mostly decent success. The multi-day view is zoomable, letting you get an overview and then quickly zoom in on a particular week or day for more details. Also included is a powerful search function to quickly find what you need and modify/delete things easily. The home screen widget is good for an at-a-glance view of upcoming events.

Business Calendar

Business Calendar

Price: €3.99 (about $5.60)

 

Executive Assistant +

A price tag of $6.99 for a mobile application can sound pretty steep in today’s conditions, but Executive Assistant + tries to justify that cost by providing an all-in-one interface for quickly reviewing your schedule, e-mail, messages, tasks, call status, twitter and facebook updates, and more. Moreover, the application can be set as a lock screen widget or home screen widget, or used as a standalone application. The application is also Honeycomb-compatible with views optimized for the larger tablet resolution.

Executive Assistant +

Executive Assistant +

Price: Free

 

Upcomings

Upcomings is a minimal scheduling application that simply lets you set and see upcoming tasks in a list format with color coding and tags for organization. Tasks can be added as single events or repeating tasks and you can set reminders to each task for an easy followup. There is also a simple home screen widget for an even quicker access to your schedule.

Upcomings

Upcomings

Price: Free

 

Calendar GoWidget

From the talented team that created the excellent Go Launcher Ex and Go SMS, this is as beautiful a calendar widget as you can get. A very new entry into the market, the widget lets you see the month at a glance or a list of upcoming events, and also lets you add events right from the home screen. If you don’t like the widgets taking up a big chunk of your home screen, there is also a smaller widget that can list all the tasks for the day in a compact view.

Calendar GoWidget

Calendar GoWidget

Price: Free

 

Time Tracking

Yast – Time Tracker

When it comes to tracking how I spend my time across different projects, I’ve found my phone a much better choice to use than a desktop or web app. Yast is the mobile client for the web app of the same name and does a very good job of letting you quickly and easily start a timer for a project you are working on at any point in time. All the data is automatically synced with the web app. You can have sub-projects nested under projects for easy management and tracking. The five most recently used projects are available on the home screen of the application, so starting and stopping the timer for them is a one-click trick.

Yast Time Tracker

Yast Time Tracker

Price: Free

 

RescueTime

Ever wonder where all the time goes in spite of how much work you seem to be doing at your desk? RescueTime tries to solve that problem by keeping a track of what you are doing through the day and then presents a report of all activity. The application will tell you how much time you spend with what application on your phone, including the website you visit inside the browser. It will also keep a track of the calls you make and receive. The reports are also generally accurate and beautifully presented.

RescueTime

RescueTime

Price: Free

 

My Work Clock

My Work Clock is a very simple, minimalist time tracking application that lets you simply punch in the amount of time you spent working through the day. There is very little else to it, so if you need time tracking across projects with detailed reports, this one is not for you. But if all you need to see is how long you work every day, the simplicity of punching in and out for jobs cannot be ignored. There is also a neat little option to add entries to the calendar.

My Work Clock

My Work Clock

Price: Free

 

Toggl Timer

Another mobile application based on a web app of the same name, toggl shares a lot of the features that Yast has, with the added advantage of some very good looking graphics. Apart from selecting a project, you can also enter the task that you spent time on. For someone whose hourly rates vary depending on the type of task performed, this can be a killer feature. Another great addition is the ability to set whether a task is billable or not, which is reflected in the reports, letting you separate non-earning tasks.

Toggl Timer

Toggl Timer

Price: Free

 

Dr. Timer Jr

Another very simple time tracking application for Android, Dr Timer Jr comes with probably the sleekest UI in this category. You can start and stop the timer to add time on a project, add notes to each session and get reports as tables as well as charts. The notes are all searchable. One neat feature is the ability to add images as notes which can be handy if you want to keep track of something you wrote on the board during a brainstorming session, for example. There are also a couple of compact home screen widgets for easy access to the timer.

Dr Timer Jr

Dr Timer Jr

Price: Free

 

Miscelleneous

Friday

Knowing what all you have been up to with your phone can be pretty enlightening. It can often help you analyze how you spend your time and figure out ways to improve on certain aspects. Friday is a personal analytics tool that provides a deep insight into how you use your phone – how many calls you make and when, whom you text the most, where you are most active or inactive, and so on. I’ve often seen people getting really surprised at the amount of information one can get out of this application.

Friday

Friday

Price: Free
Full review: Friday

 

Habit Streak

One of the biggest problems with resolutions (the kinds we set at the beginning of every year) is that they get lost in the hustle of everyday life for lack of a way to track progress. Habit Tracker tries to solve that problem by letting you set goals and track your progress with them on a daily basis. Once you have entered the goals or habits in the application, it’s a simple matter of going in every day and checking things off as you do them (or as you reach the end of the day without doing them, in case of habits you are trying to break). The application will tell you how long of an unbroken streak you have on a particular goal, motivating you to keep going at it.

Habit Streak

Habit Streak

Price: Free

 

Routinely

Routinely is similar to Habit Streak in that it lets you set goals of a certain type and then keep track of how you are doing with them on a regular basis. You get a bunch of options to display how your list is presented and uses color coding to differentiate between goals you are doing good with and those that are falling behind. There is also a nice calendar view that shows check marks for every day that you have done well on a goal.

Routinely

Routinely

Price: Free

 

Pomodroido

The Pomodoro technique is a time management method developed by Fransesco Cirillo. It allows you to focus on critical tasks at hand by setting a timer to create 25 minute work periods separated by 5 minute breaks. Pomodroido is a simple implementation of the technique for the Android platform. You can adjust the pomodoro time and interval time according to your convenience. There’s not much else to it, which goes well with the minimalistic concept of the technique. If you are trying to figure out a way to start focusing better, this one might be worth trying out.

Pomodroido

Pomodroido

Price: Free

 

Read It Later

One of the biggest barriers to productivity in this day and age is probably the constant barrage of news and updates from website we subscribe to. My preferred way to avoid such distractions and focus on work through the day is to save articles for reading later and then take them up at leisure. And nothing comes close to the convenience and experience that Read It Later provides on Android. Saved articles are all downloaded for offline reading – images and all – as well as the web version of most articles in case you would like to read something in its full glory. And it syncs perfectly with the online version, meaning you always have an up-to-date reading list, no matter where you peruse it.

Read It Later

Read It Later

Price: $2.99
Full review: Read It Later

 

Have a few favorites that are not here? Let’s hear about them in the comments section below.