Apps were abound in 2011, and mobile apps were no exception. Anyone with a mobile device will agree that it was the year of Angry Birds, but there were also plenty of apps released (and improved) this year that undoubtedly made running a business much easier and more enjoyable. Here are our favorites that made a splash in the business world.
Critics and entrepreneurs this year raved about Mint's Personal Finance app, created in 2008, which puts all your financial information in the palm of your hand. Business owners need to manage their money more than anyone, and this app breaks down budgets, expenses and bills using gorgeous, sleek graphics. In October, the company—started by Aaron Patzer in 2007 and acquired by Intuit exactly two years later—announced an app for the iPad. Cost: Free
Andy Beal, the CEO of Trackur, called 2011's GoToMeeting one of the online tools his business "couldn't live without." While he uses it to host online training sessions for his customers, the web conferencing app by Citrix Online has made virtual meetings between co-workers a breeze. In seconds, colleagues can share presentations, spreadsheets and reports on the screen of an iPad or iPhone. Cost: Up to 15 attendees, $49 per month
Accepting credit cards has long been a conundrum for small businesses that can’t afford to pay the hefty costs that credit card companies charge for doing business, but also can't afford to turn away cash-less customers. This year, their rallying cry for a solution was answered by a free app and device, created by Jack Dorsey's Square. Square lets business owners process credit card payments directly from their smartphones, taking a 2.75 percent cut from each transaction. So far, the consensus has been that it’s worth every penny. Cost: Free, but users are a charged 2.75 percent of each transaction
Another raved-about app this year was Evernote, which launched its Mac version in The Mac App Store in January. It's a note-taking app that allows you to keep reminders and capture web pages, snapshots and ideas all in one place. The company behind Evernote was founded in 2008 by Stepan Pachikov and includes Tim Ferriss—author of The 4-Hour Workweek—on its board of advisors. OPEN Forum contribute Helen Jane Hearn is such a huge fan of the productivity app, she included it on her list of six apps that “squeeze the most out of limited time.” Cost: Free for the basic version
Read It Later
Every businessperson needs to stay on top of the latest news and events taking place in his industry. But there's usually one thing in the way: time. Now there's an app to help you. The next time you're interrupted while reading an article you’d like to finish, instead of e-mailing it to yourself and then losing it in the abyss of your inbox, download this app. Created earlier this year, Read It Later's mobile app allows you to save the article anywhere, whether it’s on a computer or tablet, and pick up where you left off on another device. Pretty amazing. Cost: Free
Wunderlist is a productivity app that organizes something every business savvy individual has loads of: lists. Created earlier this year by the brains behind 6 Wunderkinder, the app allows you to collaborate with friends and colleagues on to-do lists. And the best part is, you can manage tasks by e-mail, so you can send reminders to yourself anytime without having to worry that they’ll get lost in your inbox. Cost: Free
There’s no predicting what mobile technology will bring in 2012, but if this year's momentum is any indication, there are many more cool apps on the horizon. Brilliant.