How to turn your Android phone into a powerful collaboration hub

Computerworld | Apr 27, 2018

With the right set of apps, you can turn your Android phone into a collaboration hub — and then stay connected and productive -- wherever you might be.

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Hey, I'm JR Raphael.

These days, you don't have to be in the same conference room — or even time zone — to work side by side with your co-workers.

With the right set of apps, you can turn your Android phone into a powerful collaboration hub — and then stay connected and productive... wherever you might be.

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We'll start with documents — and you've actually got two standout choices.

First is Microsoft Word. For years, Word was a disaster on Android — but Microsoft is finally taking its mobile apps seriously, and Word's current incarnation... is fantastic.

For collaboration, its multiuser editing system is smooth and easy to use. It shows you real-time changes and inline commenting from other people on your project, no matter what platform or type of device they're using.

That puts it neck and neck with Google. Google Docs has always excelled at collaboration... and still today, it's a shining example of simple multiuser support.

The only real question is which app you prefer and which ecosystem makes more sense for your needs.

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For collaborating on notes, Evernote is as good as it gets.

The Evernote Android app makes it easy to share notes with anyone. You can control exactly what level of access they'll have — viewing, editing, or editing and inviting other people. You can even opt to share entire notebooks if you want.

The app has advanced text-formatting tools... and it makes it really easy to add files, emails, and web pages into your notes, too.

All in all, it's a rock solid foundation for note collaboration across your team.

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Got projects? Trello's the best app for working with others on organizing ideas and tracking progress.

Trello gives you a simple... yet feature-packed canvas for keeping projects in order.

You just create a board for each project or area of interest.... then create a series of lists within each board.

Each list gets filled up with cards — individual items that hold text, files, photos, almost anything you'd need.

Every card even has its own comment stream for co-workers to leave thoughts and ideas. And there's a detailed activity log in each one that lists out all the comments, edits, and invites in a single place.

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For chatting with your team, Slack is the app you want.

Slack provides a powerful, reliable, and easy-to-use system for keeping in touch with colleagues... in almost any way imaginable.

You can use a combination of channels and private direct messages to chat with co-workers.

The app has customizable notifications so you can get alerted to activity as often — or NOT often — as you like. You can even set up keyword-specific alerts if you want to limit your interruptions only to certain subjects.

Add in integrations for everything ranging from Google Drive and Calendar to Salesforce, Evernote, and Trello... and Slack is ready to serve as the central nervous system for all your professional communication.

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Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words. Or... well, at least a couple hundred.

The next time you need a shared visual surface for long-distance collaboration, check out LiveBoard Interactive Whiteboard.

The way it works is simple: The app puts a blank whiteboard surface on your screen. You then send a private link to anyone you want to invite, and they can view and interact with the board in real time — from a mobile device or a desktop browser.

You and your colleagues can create diagrams, sketch out ideas, and mark up and annotate images together. When you're all done, it just takes a couple taps to export and save your boards wherever you want.

For more mobile productivity tips, find me on Twitter — @JRRaphael — and be sure to keep up with my Android Intelligence column, only at computerworld dot com.