Monday, August 12, 2013

7 amazing Android apps for notes and tasks

From day one, Android has provided a number of applications to help users stay more organized. We bought these expensive devices to keep us on track; it's a smart phone so we expect it to do things we can't always remember to do.

Thanks to the beauty of the app store, there are new and much more sophisticated tools popping up on a regular basis. But, with so many to choose from, how does one get started?
Catch Notes and Astrid are popular apps for managing such needs, but with the future of both services in the air it's time to export your data or consider moving on to a different app.

I've put together a short list of my favorite Android apps for managing tasks, keeping notes, and more. If you've dabbled in smartphones for any length of time then you've likely encountered one or two of these. Some have been around for years, working as cloud-based services accessible from browsers while others are just sweet and simple apps from the last few months.

Google Keep
As one of Google's more recently released apps and services, Google Keep is a bare bones way of organizing notes and lists. As is to be expected, the app ties directly to your Gmail or Drive account. Thanks to the power of the cloud, your notes, tasks, photos, and other items can be accessed from anywhere.
Color coding makes it easy to differentiate between your work-related tasks and that growing honey-do list.
One of the more practical features I've found in Keep turning a simple note into a checklist by toggling checkboxes. Doing so provides a quick way to tick off accomplishments or items one at a time.
Additional features in Google Keep include the ability to create notes using your voice, store photos, and choose from a number of home screen widget options. It might not have the polish and appeal of similar apps, but it's a Google product, so that's fitting. With that said, we might look for new features to gradually appear.

Evernote is likely the first name that comes to mind for many readers, and it's for good reason. First and foremost, the service has moved far beyond a "cloud based note service". Not only are users able to upload notes, tasks, and photos, but Evernote also provides a backbone for other apps. Indeed, the home screen widgets allow for quick adding of items, even by voice.

Some of Evernote's standout features include searching for text inside notes, tagging, and sharing over social networks. Those who travel often will appreciate being able to quickly identify scanned receipts, invoices, and other documents that you can find based on location.

The Evernote experience gets even better for foodies with Evernote Food. Offered as a standalone app, this one lets you capture photos and notes of that sushi you enjoyed the last time you visited the coast.

The recently updated Skitch app lets users read and markup PDFs in addition to photos and drawings. Social butterflies will like the Evernote Hello app and the way it creates a browsable history of individuals and encounters.

If you're at all serious about Evernote, then you'll certainly want to download a browser extension or two. This way, you can quickly save a Web article, photo, or document directly to your account and pull it up later.
While Evernote is quite the robust offering, there are additional features available with a Premium account. For $5 a month ($45 per year,) users can also enjoy offline notebooks, PIN locks, and multiple user editing of notebooks, to name a few benefits.

Simple and clean yet gorgeous and polished at the same time, was Holo-themed before before Google made it cool. There are few apps rival this straightforward to-do and task app; both the black and white themes make your checklists pop off your device.

Peel back the top layer, however, and you'll find great features such the ability to make calls, send messages, and schedule meetings. Toggling from Folder View and Date View (today, tomorrow, upcoming, someday) rearranges things for time sensitivity or groups your work and errands.

One of the features I enjoy most often is turning a missed call into a reminder or task. Don't tell her this, but I really have no excuses for not returning mom's calls. Another subtle touch that I like is the way is able to predict what my tasks are before I finish typing. The app pulls from an inexhaustible list of preset tasks and ties right into my contacts. Need to send an email to someone specific next Monday? cuts through the steps and sets you up instantly.

If you're looking for a slick-looking list keeping service with cross-platform support, Wunderlist is one of the top names today. Available for Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac, this free client makes for a great way to create, manage, and share lists.

Thanks to integration with Android's lock screen, Wunderlist ensures you're never too far from your tasks or birthday reminders. The design is straightforward so you'll be creating and sharing in no time at all and the tablet optimized layout takes advantage of Android fragments framework.

Indeed, the free service provides additional options such as folders, prioritization, and reminders. Spend $4.99 per month ($49.99 per year) and you'll also unlock Pro features including the ability to attach photos, spreadsheets, presentation decks, PDFs, music, and videos. For deeper team collaboration, check out the task assignment and delegate that TPS report.

One service that I've enjoyed watching develop over time is Todoist and its eye-catching Android app. Not only is it simple to pick up, it's rich enough to satisfy deeper needs.

Essentially a cloud-based filing system for your to-do lists, Todoist provides for unlimited tasks and sub-tasks. Need to prioritize things or set them as recurring events? No problem. Break things down into folders and projects and assign them one of many great colors or labels.

Additional features give you multiple actionable widgets, offline access, and due dates. For those who need even more, an in-app purchase will unlock Premium options for $3.99 per month or $28.99 per year. You'll see features like reminders (email, push notifications, SMS), filters, colorable labels, and integration with

Todoist is also available for iOS and Windows and also comes in great extensions for your browser of choice.

Task List
If you're like me then you've been pining for an official app for Google Tasks for years. Task List is one of those apps that fills the void quite nicely and happens to look like something Google might endorse. It also doesn't hurt that it actually syncs with your Google account.

This app will let you create tasks based on categories, due dates, and overall priority as well as the option to share across SMS or email. Intuitive and easy to learn, users can also set alerts and recurring tasks without breaking a sweat. Need a gentle reminder to send an email or call an old friend? You'll enjoy integration with Gmail contacts, Facebook friends, LinkedIn, and more.

Looking ahead, the Task List developers expect to sync with other task apps, including many of the others listed here.


An oldie but goodie, GTasks eschews the glitz and glamour for straight up task and to-do list management. Like the others in this list, this free app offers reminders, prioritization, due dates, and sorting items by name.
One of the features I most enjoy about GTasks is that I can synchronize multiple Google accounts at once. As someone who manages a busy work and personal life, I like that I can quickly see what's on my overall agenda. Thanks to the way it plays with custom launchers, I can scroll through widgets on my desktop, never having to open the app.

If you're the kind who doesn't care how an app looks just so long as it gets the job done, GTasks should be high on your list. Having said that, you can purchase a Premium key for a one-time $4.99 that unlocks additional options. Again, more function than fashion, you'll get customize background synchronization, themes, pattern security locks, and more.

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