2012 Mobile Apps: Specs That Matter
In This Guide
2012 Mobile Apps: Specs That Matter
You may be new to a smartphone or tablet, but wherever you are in your career, you’ve likely got years of experience with computers. These mobile devices are essentially new types of computers in more compact, portable packages. As with any PC, it’s the software — the “apps” — that equip the device with whatever functionality you need.
Like your desktop or notebook computer, smartphones and tablets run on an operating system. Support for that system determines the choices in software. There are currently four primary OS choices: Google’s Android, RIM’s Blackberry, Apple’s iOS, and Microsoft’s Windows Phone. If you’re shopping a new smartphone or tablet, consider the app catalog for that OS along with features of the hardware.
Apple’s iOS, which runs on the iPhone and iPad, currently enjoys the largest selection of apps, but Google’s Android seems to be catching up. Blackberry and Windows Phone don’t yet offer the breadth and depth of software choices of either iOS or Android.
The more options you have in apps, the more versatile you’ll find your phone or tablet to be. For practical purposes, though, you’ll likely rely on a few core apps for day-to-day real estate activities. They should deliver comparable features and performance to the software you use on your PC.
Think of your established work habits, what your require for mobile productivity, how you want your client information organized, what real estate tools you want at hand, and which ones will make your professional life easier.
In apps as in full-blown software applications, real estate requires some mix of specialized software and standard off-the-shelf programs. Basic needs include:
· Mobile access to contact information and correspondence.
· A mobile Web browser.
· Some means of viewing, editing, and sharing documents, contracts, and presentations.
· A photo management and image editing program.
If these aren’t already included with the OS, easy answers await you in your phone or tablet’s respective app store.
Other, more general apps can also make your phone or tablet a more useful real estate tool. A QR code reader, for example, points your device directly to listing information linked to a yard sign. Scanning apps let the camera digitize documents or receipts into sharable PDFs. Cloud solutions like DropBox and EverNote ensure the same information is always available on all of your devices.
For real estate, a property-search tool, such as Realtor.com’s mobile app, is essential. Apps that tell you what else is in the area based on location provide potential buyers with valuable information. A mortgage or loan app for calculating payments and prequalifying buyers might be infrequently used but should be available when needed.
When it’s time to sign on the dotted line, apps that deliver contracts and forms to your mobile device with some means of capturing an electronic signature can eliminate a trip back to the office. You can also install apps to transform mobile devices into your lockbox key, create a floor plan with a few clicks of the camera, manage and follow up on open houses, and ensure your personal safety when meeting strangers for home tours.
With apps, the possibilities are great. We can only touch on a few examples here, but the products included should provide some idea programs you can install do to make your smartphone or tablet a hub of productivity. For broader insight, search for related apps for each respective OS: