13 free mobile and tablet apps that startups need

Business is going mobile, and startups are leading the way. Offices are no longer made up by 4 walls and a roof. There are many moving parts to an office that we just didn’t have 50 years ago, like the cloud, affordable and powerful computers, tablets, smart phones, and email.

For the NZE team, going to work means relaxing in the sunshine with an iPad, going to the local coffee shop for meetings, and talking to potential clients through Skype. We bring our offices with us when we travel, and this age of mobility is supported by applications that make it possible.

These are the apps we can’t live without.

1. Slack

Email is a real pain. It’s a necessity that no one enjoys but everyone puts up with. Slack is an app that brings your internal communications together in one place so that you can reserve email for external communications, and it’s amazing.

The best way to describe Slack is as a halfway point between email and Facebook messenger. It’s professional, but built for modern teams. The app integrates with help desk platforms, Twitter, Google Docs, and 30+ other add ons. When you search for something, it looks for your query in all of your communications, from incoming tweets to bug reports, to private communications between individuals.

It’s the perfect tool for internal communication, especially when you aren’t in the same room with your colleagues.

Slack has native applications for iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac, and Windows.

2. The Google Suite

Google has an incredible suits of tools, and they’re all free. These apps aren’t poorly designed either. They’re powerful tools that you can use for almost every aspect of business.

  • Google Docs – real-time collaboration on documents
  • Google Hangouts – meet with as many people as you like for free. Integrates with Google Calendar
  • Google Sheets – real-time collaboration on spreadsheets
  • Snapseed – photo editing that doesn’t suck
  • Google Admin – manage and monitor your company’s Google Apps accounts
  • Google Maps – interactive maps
  • Google Earth – view any location anywhere
  • Google Drive – your files in the cloud, linked to email and every other Google app

What makes these apps so amazing is that they’re available on every platform, plus the web, and they’re totally free. There’s no excuse not to use them.

3. Xero

You knew this one was coming. Nothing beats sipping a daiquiri and doing your books, although this is probably frowned upon. Maybe stick to coffee while doing the accounts.

4. Sunrise

The iOS Calendar application is good, but it’s not great. Sunrise takes the calendar, simplifies it, and puts powerful features just a tap away.

Plus it looks really good.

5. The Apple Suite

The Apple suite is impressive, and offers tools that are more suited to creatives when compared to the Google suite. They’re incredibly powerful, and usually free if you purchase a new device.

  • GarageBand – Wow. The things this app can do are mind-boggling
  • Pages – Google Docs is good for text, but with pages, you can make it look pretty
  • iMovie – Basic singly track editing for video. This is more useful for compiling footage than doing big projects
  • Keynote – Presentations that look amazing
  • Numbers – The charting functions on Numbers is a lot more advanced and aesthetically pleasing than Google Sheets
  • Logic Remote – If you use Logic Pro for video editing, this app will change your life.

6. Mailbox

If you’re not using Mailbox, you need to reconsider your purpose in life. This app was designed to deal with email, so it looks incredible on iPhone and iPad and integrates seamlessly with Dropbox, who purchased the company.

The app is available on iOS and Android. This morning, Mailbox announced that a beta version has been released for OSX.

7. Sprout Social

For business with a decent social media following, Sprout Social puts all of your interactions in one place, coupled with limited analytics.

There is room for improvement in this app, specifically with reporting. It would be amazing to be able to view and generate reports on mobile or tablet.

Sprout Social is available for iOS and Android.

8. Flowboard

Flowboard is an app that’s designed for touch interfaces. It’s like Canva for presentations. The app will allow you to create presentations with images, video, galleries, and PDF’s, all by just using your finger. The app’s website describes it as a presentation that looks like a mobile app.

Flowboard is available on the Mac App Store for $9.99. The iPad / iPhone version is free.

9. Microsoft Suite

There are three main productivity providers that most of us are used to. That’s Apple, Microsoft, and Google. If Microsoft is your jam, then the free Office apps will be perfect for you.

  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Powerpoint
  • Microsoft Onenote
  • Lync 2013
  • OneDrive

10. Directr

This is a seriously good app that lets you use your mobile device to plan, shoot, and compile professional videos. The company has recently been acquired by Google, and the entire platform is soon to be made free.

Most people don’t realise how good the iPhone and iPad camera is. Try shooting at 120 fps on an iPhone and you’ll be seriously impressed at how good it is.

Directr harnesses that power and is an exceptional tool for all businesses. It’s up to you to use it.

11. Weekdone

Most startups need to be able to collaborate with their team at all times. That’s where Weekdone comes in. It lets you know how your team is doing with beautiful analytics too.

12. Roambi Analytics

Wow. Just wow. This app looks like something out of a James Bond movie. It’ll let you display and model data on your iPad or iPhone from a number of sources. This can be used to analyse sales figures, user numbers, or anything else that you can put into a Google Spreadsheet.

I’ve seriously never seen data look so sexy. There is one problem: you’ll need a subscription to the service after you’ve used it for 30 days. This can get costly.

13. Paper

You know those ANZ ads where inspiration strikes and the characters assume perplexing facial expressions? Well Paper is an app that is designed for those moments when you’re inspired to create. It has few distractions, yet it’s extremely powerful. The things people can design with the app is incredible.


What apps do you use for business? Let us know in the comments.




  1. BarbNowich says:

    What about free biz collaboration platforms like Bitrix24 or Mango? They get no lovin’?

  2. LollyJean says:

    Avid user of both Google Docs and Microsoft Suite, here! I also use the goal setting and tracking app Cove on a regular basis. I can easily set goals for myself that I share with my manager and team to receive in the moment feedback, and even encouragement. It helps me focus on the most important and meaningful tasks. You should check it out! http://www.talentcove.com 🙂

    1. Jose Mathias says:

      On the Talent Cove site it says that you’re an employee 🙂 great product though! Love the design

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