Mobile Tech: The Top 10 Apps CIOs Need Now

The handheld is becoming the desktop. That’s the reality of today’s mobile workforce and, increasingly, we all need ready access to our networked world from handheld wireless devices and this means CIOs, too.

The good news is the flurry of new apps that continue to avalanche into the marketplace on multiple platforms. But, in this abundance, arises the need to be picky―apps-overwhelm is an all too easy place to find oneself. So, what apps do you really need now? Read on for an edited, but in-no-particular order (although the two at the top get my vote), selection of 10 apps that deserve a place on your mobile phone.

Preference is given here to BlackBerry apps because most of you carry RIM devices but there also are some Android, Windows Mobile, even iPhone apps sprinkled throughout the catalog. So, without further ado, the winners are:

BlackBerry PowerPoint Presenter – You’ll need an add-on gadget, the Bluetooth BlackBerry Presenter ($199), but when you are properly set up, this combo lets you present PowerPoint shows directly from a BlackBerry. How high-tech is that?!? And, face it, a CIO has to show a little razzle-dazzle in meetings. This is the ticket.

SMobile Anti-Theft for Android – Kill it if you lose it. CIOs carry confidential info on their mobile devices and this app exists to do one thing: let you erase everything remotely. Enterprise server edition Blackberries allow for fast data destruction via IT admin commands. Android users can do the same with the SMobile app ($19.99), which also provides anti-virus protections. iPhone users will want Apple’s MobileMe, $99/year. Whatever phone you use, get this protection. It’s a must for c-suiters.

Viigo – What do you want to know? Viigo will deliver it when you are on the go, to BlackBerries and Windows Mobile devices, free of charge. News, stocks and finance updates, flights and travel, and more are delivered directly. A glance at Viigo and you are a in-the-know CIO. A potent tool for cutting through info clutter.

inForm – Quickly create and distribute forms, databases, surveys, all from the BlackBerry. The app costs $59.99, but it offers a powerful proof of just how much useful work can be done on a handheld device.

Wireless Database Viewer Plus – Lets you view and update any desktop database wirelessly on your BlackBerry. It’s $49.99 price lets you view and edit Excel, Access, Oracle, MySQL, and many more programs.

ProOnGo Expense Beta with Receipt Reader – This is cool: snap a photo of receipts and let ProOnGo assemble an expense report for you, easy-peasy. The app is free for BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Android. iPhone users pay $0.99. Then it’s pay-as-you-go―10 receipts per month for $4. Costs increase with the number of receipts. Expense reports come in your choice of format.

DocuSign – A little more razzle-dazzle, DocuSign lets you create and send electronic signatures from a BlackBerry or Windows Mobile device. Pricing starts at $19.95 per month, but what could be more impressive than sending out a good signature from a handheld? Be the first on your block.

Cisco WebEx Meeting Center – Curse it, love it, either way Cisco wants you to be able to carry a fully functional WebEx meeting center tool on your mobile device, be it BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, or Symbian (Nokia). This free app let users join meetings from their smartphone, view presentations or shared desktops, and participate in live annotations and chat.

EverNote – If you think it, you can EverNote it … and retrieve it at any time. Upload webpages, audio memos, photos, whatever to the EverNote Cloud, and then it becomes available to all your devices (handhelds, desktops, etc.); anything with a browser. “Remember everything” is the company’s motto. A premium version, with beefed up security, costs $5.00/month, but the basic version is free. For iPhone, Android, BlackBerry.

YouMail – No need for iPhone envy, YouMail is the app that lets BlackBerry and Android users look at visual voice mail, playing back only the messages that matter, ignoring or deleting the others. The basic app is free, a premium version, which includes transcripts of voice messages, starts at $1.99/month.

As a busy freelance writer for more than 30 years, Rob McGarvey has written over 1500 articles for many of the nation’s leading publications―from Reader’s Digest to Playboy and from the NY Times to Harvard Business Review. McGarvey covers CEOs, business, high tech, human resources, real estate, and the energy sector. A particular specialty is advertorial sections for many top outlets including the New York Times, Crain’s New York, and Fortune Magazine.