Top 20 online tools for mobile working

More and more workers are taking to mobile working, either through choice or circumstance. As a result, knowing where to get the best free or low-cost web and mobile tools is essential.

Here's our guide to the top 20 free or low-cost apps to help you set up a truly mobile office on your PDA, phone or laptop.

Included in this article:


1. Skype - The fabulously popular Skype is successful because it offers free web-based video or audio calls, plus savings on long distance charges. It lets you keep the same telephone number wherever you are, and all you need is a laptop with a headset/microphone and an internet connection.

2. Earth Class Mail - This clever mail service lets you receive "snail mail" from anywhere in the world. You get an online PO Box, and get to view scanned images of your sealed envelopes online, then choose to have your mail securely scanned into a PDF document, recycled, shredded or forwarded to you or someone else.

3. LiveMeeting - LiveMeeting is part of Microsoft Office Online. The hosted web conferencing service allows the user to conduct online meetings, training and events wherever they are. Users can also upload handouts for distribution, and use Microsoft RoundTable, which is an advanced conference phone with a built-in 360-degree camera and advanced speech recognition.

4. Meebo - Meebo is a free instant messaging (IM) web site that supports multiple IM clients, allowing users to chat with people across all of the major IM networks. You get to use a single buddy list that spans multiple IM clients login with the IM account details you already have and there's no software needed to download or install.

Storage and Access

5. Flickr - Flickr is one of the most popular photo and video storage and sharing web sites available. It offers a lot of features that make it useful for people who want to access images on the move. These include tagging, blogging, sharing, mapping, and editing tools.

6. GoToMyPC - Citrix invented GoToMyPC as a way to remotely and securely access a PC from anywhere, even controlling it remotely. The software is popular because it gives users a direct line to their PC from any Web browser or wireless device in real time. As a result, the benefits for road warriors are potentially massive.

7. Jungle Disk - Jungle Disk Desktop Edition is an online storage service from Amazon, with storage based in the US. It lets you store files and automatically backup data easily and securely to's S3 Storage Service. Users can store an unlimited amount of data for 15¢ (10p) per gigabyte, with no monthly subscription fees, and no commitment. Data is fully encrypted.

Everything Google

8. Google Docs - Google Docs allows you to create and access files online, collaborate on them with others, and share changes in real time. Files can then be save to your desktop.

9. Google Maps - Those of you familiar with Google Maps will know that it helps you to find almost any destination in the world, and work out how to travel there. It also integrates with a number of online and mobile tools. See our Redundancy special report as an example.

10. Google Calendar - Google Calendar is an online calendar service, and a good way to stay on top of your schedule while you're out and about. Features include seeing friends' and colleagues' schedules next to your own and the ability to share events and calendars. You can also send reminders and track RSVPs and set automatic mobile phone notifications.

11. GooSync - GooSync allows you to synchronise your mobile calendar and Google Calendar.

12. Google Reader - Google Reader aggregates your RSS news and blogs in one place, and allows you to share information with friends and family.

Get Organised

13. Zoho - Zoho's massive suite of office tools provides a way to work on presentations, documents and spreadsheets, online, and share them with others. Praised by CIO, The Economist and Time Magazine, Zoho has a mail client, a Wiki tool, a notebook, IM, a planner - and many, many more tools, making it worth a look.

14. Basecamp - Basecamp is a place to post and share documents, communicate, and keep abreast of your to-do lists. The web-based project collaboration tool is designed for individuals, or whole business teams, and has been around since 2004.

15. Remember the Milk - The quirkily-named Remember the Milk is a free online tool to manage your tasks and to-do list. You can get reminders by email, SMS or IM, and access your list from your phone, including iPhone, and synchronise lists with Google Calendar.

16. Toodledo - Toodledo is another easy to use, web-based to-do list organiser. It uses several criteria to organise tasks, such as folders, subtasks, due-dates, priorities, tags, contexts, goals, notes, and time estimates. As a result, it's easier to organise, search and sort through the list.

Useful Tools

17. SugarCRM - SugarCRM's Sugar is a commercial open source application that lets you stay on top of your customer relations online. The software tracks customer relations across lines of business, and also offers sales force automation, marketing automation, customer support and reporting capabilities.

18. Paypal - The ubiquitous Paypal online payment system has become much more than an eBay add-on. It allows you to pay, and be paid, using a credit card or bank account no matter where you are in the world and offers a range of financial services for businesses or individuals. As a result, it makes a good banking service for the mobile globetrotter.

19. 1-Calc - This supercharged calculator program for most major phone platforms has it all - colourful skins, big buttons, currency and unit conversion, plus scientific functions. You can even calculate your restaurant tip with it.

20. PocketWeather - The PocketWeather tool gives you a worldwide weather report directly to your Windows Mobile device. The interface is clear and easy to use, colourful with well designed icons, and the weather feed is used by the aviation industry. PocketWeather also has daily forecasts on weather, Sunrise and Sunset times, and even visibility and humidity.

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