With hundreds of new tech products flooding the market daily, only a handful achieve commercial success. So which are the essential tools for business pros?
Here’s my top ten, from the desirable to the virtually fundamental.
1. Apple iPhone 4
2010’s best-selling domestic smartphone, the iPhone 4, is not only gorgeous to look at, it’s also becoming a viable option as a business phone, and is set to rival the Blackberry in the business functionality stakes with the expected release of iOS5 this coming September.
This multi-platform app promises to turn your smartphone into an extension of your brain. Evernote lets you take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders – and then makes these notes completely searchable, wherever you are in the world.
Effortless but effective, Instapaper is a simple tool to save web pages for reading later. When ever you find an article you’re interested in, simply click ‘Read Later’ to make the cleaned-up version show up on your smartphone or tablet.
4. iLife ‘11
If you have a Mac, iLife is an affordable and intuitive all-in-one package for editing and processing video, audio and photos. With a simple interface and flawless performance, there has never been a better time to embrace digital editing – handy given the rise of YouTube!
Ask some social media commentators and they’ll tell you that Google+ is set to become one of the big boys in social media. Already approaching 19 millions users, it shares much of Facebook’s functionality, with a few tweaks and extras mixed in. Can you afford not to be there?
If like me, you struggle to contribute to the Twittersphere while still having time to work on other projects, HootSuite could prove invaluable. The web and smartphone based app allows you to schedule tweets, link RSS feeds, manage multiple accounts and even track engagement stats, allowing you to concentrate on your deadlines without neglecting your followers.
7. Market Samurai
This multi-purpose SEO research tool is one of the most complete desktop platforms you can get. Available at an affordable one-off price, Market Samurai allows you to perform keyword research across natural search and PPC (pay per click) and only requires basic SEO understanding to get started
Klout is the most widely used resource for measuring your influence in social media. Available as an extension for Chrome and Firefox, it uses data from your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and FourSquare accounts, to determine your overall social media influence, providing basic graphs and a good-looking user interface.
Faster, thinner, lighter and better than it’s predecessor, this svelt, sleek handheld is, in my opinion, head and shoulders above all competitor tablets. All the smart app providers have created iPad versions to win over newcomers to the tablet revolution, making the range of apps second to none.
This flash-based platform makes Microsoft Powerpoint look and feel laughably old fashioned. With Prezi, you can create non-linear, dynamic, zooming presentations with text, videos and drawings that come together with top-end graphics that put a boring set of bullet pointed PPT slides in the shade. Try it!
So there you have it, my run down of the top ten tech toys that no business pro should be without. Whether you’re looking for style, productivity or functionality, this list is sure to put you on the right track to tech toy joy. What’s your favourite?