Top 5 mobile phone apps for small businesses

In the first of a series covering all four major mobile phone platforms, Alex Bellinger looks at the top iPhone apps for small businesses and asks where’s the creativity?

21st August 2009 at 1:21 pm

When Apple launched the iPhone and its App Store in iTunes, it upped the ante in terms of what mobile phone applications could do. In July this year the number of iPhone apps downloaded hit 1.5 billion.

Competitors followed suit rapidly and the App Store wars broke out.

Blackberry launched its App World, Nokia its Ovi Store and Microsoft is about to unleash Windows Mobile Marketplace.

So I decided to take a look at the top 5 mobile apps for business on each platform and ask has the mobile world really embraced the needs of SMBs?

iPhone apps for SMEs

Here are the top 5 highest rated iPhone apps for business in Apple’s iTunes store.

  1. QuickVoice Recorder – in essence an app to record and tag voice memos. Strangely number 1 in the charts, despite Apple having built a very similar app into the latest iteration of its iPhone software.
  2. Griffin iTalk – another voice recording app. Useful for recording meetings and memos. A dictaphone replacement.
  3. Mocha VNC – a virtual desktop app that lets you access your work PC or Mac. Seems to be difficult to set up.
  4. Remote Desktop Lite – another remote desktop app from Mocha. Only connects to Windows XP. Somewhat limited and surprising to find it in the top 5 most popular.
  5. Documents (Mobile Office Suite) – word processor and spreadsheets you can create and edit on the move. Integrates with Google Docs. Used to have the advantage of editing which Google’s own iPhone app didn’t have, but that’s changed recently.

The above list and indeed most of the others in the top 50 all focus on memo recording, remote access, documents and to-do-lists.

All well and good and oh so utilitarian. But then maybe that’s exactly what small businesses really need from their iPhone.

Nevertheless, there seems to be a dearth of creative apps for this audience, bearing in mind all the possibilities the iPhone itself offers from a technological standpoint.

To be honest most of the apps look pretty similar to what I remember downloading on both Nokia and Windows Mobile platforms some 5 years ago.

Why nothing creative from all those cool and talented app designers out there?

But, maybe I’m missing some diamonds in the rough. What are your recommendations for business-related iPhone apps?


Alex is the founder and editor of SmallBizPod, the UK's first podcast dedicated to small business, start-ups and entrepreneurship. Alex writes about topical small business issues, entrepreneurs and anything else that catches his eye here on the small business blog.

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  1. Alex

    TBH I find that list boring and geeky, especially when the iPhone 3.0 upgrade brings with it audio/voice recording.

    Here’s a list of apps (P=Pay) we find extremely handy, but it all depends on each business really – consider we do bespoke business travel and consulting, and rely heavily on technology to pass information around.

    Instapaper – allows reading of webpages offline

    Wordweb – dictionary etc.

    FlightTracker (P) – keeps track of flights for when we’re doing VIP airport transfers, chaperones etc.

    Skype – calls etc.

    Evernote – like Instaper but allows sharing of notes, photos, forms, webpages between desktop/mobile

    Satchel – for viewing our 37 Signals Backpack accounts

    Google Earth

    Accufuel – for tracking fuel economy, costs etc


    Translator – enables us to type any text and converts into many other languages, for when we pick up international clients!

    Urbanspoon – great eating/entertainment directory for when we’re travelling to new areas

    Toodledoo – GTP productivity/to-do list that syncs with desktop/web

    Tweetie – best iphone Twitter app (closely followed by Tweetdeck)

    Facebook – for keeping in touch

    Hope they help folks – thanks

    Templar Modern Chauffeurs
    @templarmc on Twitter

  2. Great list! I just looked at the iTunes charts which are surprisingly disappointing.

    I use Tweetie, Facebook, Google, Evernote and Skype myself. The others look interesting too.

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