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Get more productive with these mobile apps

Last year at holiday time, more than 25

Last year at holiday time, more than 25 percent of smartphone users said they expected to make a purchase using their mobile devices, according to the National Retail Federation. (Nov. 2, 2011) (Credit: AP )

Between work, family and social obligations, our lives are becoming increasingly busy. Now with the holidays coming up, there will be even more planning, scheduling and logistics to keep us occupied. Thankfully, our worlds no longer have to revolve around day planners and the Filofax. There are a ton of great smartphone applications out there to help you keep everything straight.

Take note and download any of these five productivity apps right away.

Remember the Milk (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android Free); MilkSync (BlackBerry, Windows Free)

This is a great starter app for those just getting comfortable with using their smartphones to keep their lives more organized. The free application features a newly redesigned interface that lets users create to-do task lists organized by date, priority and other details. Information that you input into the app can be synced with the www.rememberthemilk.com website. Best of all, the app takes advantage of your smartphone (or tablet) location technology and showcases various errands and tasks you assigned based on where you are at any particular point. So when you're at the grocery store, Remember the Milk will literally help you remember the milk. While there is no cost to download this app and take advantage of many of its features, heavy users are advised to invest in a $25 annual subscription. Think of it as shelling out extra for organic milk. As part of a recent upgrade, Remember The Milk now features integration with Apple's iOS 5 and Siri voice-recognition technology.

OmniFocus (iPhone, iPod Touch $19.99; iPad $39.99)

Once you wean yourself off Remember The Milk and simpler productivity-based applications, you might be ready for this uber task manager that can help you manage work projects more efficiently while on the go. This pioneering app, which was recognized in the early days of the iTunes App Store for its utility and design, lets you categorize tasks by function and compartmentalize things like project budgeting, maintenance of client relationships and writing assignments. While it's among the more expensive apps to download to Apple's iDevices, OmniFocus will immediately become an invaluable part of your life once you get your hands around it.

Dropbox (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android, BlackBerry Free)

Mobile devices don't have unlimited storage, and it is not always practical or advisable to carry heavy video, photo and Powerpoint files wherever you travel. Dropbox, which allows users to store this information in the cloud, is an elegant and affordable way to access crucial documents from remote locations whenever you need them. Dropbox is free to use for up to 2GB of data. Thereafter, tiered pricing services start at $9.99 per month.

GoToMeeting (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android Free)

For more than a decade, web conferencing services have allowed professionals to organize virtual meetings online. But what happens when you're on the road and not near a computer? Fear not with the GoToMeeting application, which allows you to seamlessly tap into meetings without carrying around heavy and cumbersome equipment all the time. The GoToMeeting app is free to use for attendees and requires a $49 monthly subscription for meeting organizers.

Evernote (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Free)

If you are looking for something more advanced and with greater functionality than Remember the Milk, but don't need anything as extensive as OmniFocus or the other enterprise-oriented alternatives, then Evernote is the "getting things done" app for you. The app, which is free to download and also an inductee into Apple's App Hall of Fame, has all the features you need for note-taking and task prioritization. It also helps prioritize tasks by location. Like other productivity apps of its ilk, Evernote offers a combination of free and premium features that start at about $5 per month.

(c) 2011 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Tags: mobile apps , iphone , android

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