If your pocket is feeling a bit light after forking out for the new 3G iPhone, then check out our list of five productivity apps that cost absolutely nothing.

After the initial outlay for your 3G iPhone, you can be forgiven for being reluctant to spend any further dosh. That's why we trawled Apple's App Store and came up with five productivity applications available right now.

Admittedly four of the five tools on this list have their share of limitations and bugs to work out, which made us shy away from testing paid productivity apps. All of the following apps were tested on a first-generation iPhone with the 2.0.1 firmware. It should be noted that during testing, we did experience occasions when 3G connectivity was slower than usual.

PageOnce Personal Assistant

In the realm of free applications, no 'killer productivity app' for the iPhone exists, but PageOnce Personal Assistant is as close as it gets. Rather than providing its own set of services, PageOnce Personal Assistant aggregates your online accounts and feeds them to your iPhone in one handy, streamlined interface.

However, those feeds are limited to read-only status. It's still a handy app for seeing your bank balance (no payments or transfers, though); reading your MySpace, feeds; viewing your cable television bill and scanning your Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and other web-mail inboxes (no sending messages, though).

I did see a few notable omissions to PageOnce's otherwise impressive lineup of online partners. For example, PageOnce has no Facebook integration, which is especially surprising given the numerous references on the PageOnce site to getting your Facebook feed through the app.

In addition to the read-only limitations, I noticed a bit of a lag time between signing up for feeds online and having them work on my iPhone. Also, I really hope PageOnce has airtight security (the PageOnce site claims it does), due to the amount of personal information submitted to get the full range of offerings. And it's much easier to just check your email inbox than to use the limited read-only feed on PageOnce.

Evernote

With Evernote, gone are the days of emailing things to yourself just to get them off your phone and on to your computer. One of the first apps I loaded on to my iPhone, Evernote lets you send written notes, photos (taken from both within the application and stored in your iPhone's photo album), and voice memos to an online repository that you can access anywhere with a web connection.

Evernote's free version limits your uploads to 40MB per month, while Evernote Premium increases your upload limit to 500 MB per month for a $5 (£2.50) monthly or $45 (£22.50) yearly fee. For the casual user, though, the free version should offer plenty of storage.


NEXT PAGE: ReQall and YPMobile

  1. Make you life more efficient for free
  2. ReQall and YPMobile
  3. Instapaper

Visit Mobile Advisor for the latest mobile phone news, reviews, tips & tricks, as well as PC Advisor's unique Apple iPhone 3G Spotlight

Get the latest news about Apple and Apple products at PC Advisor's dedicated Apple News Spotlight


If your pocket is feeling a bit light after forking out for the new 3G iPhone, then check out our list of five productivity apps that cost absolutely nothing.

ReQall

To-do list applications abound in the iTunes App Store, but ReQall for the iPhone is a veritable list-making and reminder-creating suite. It combines to-do lists, shopping lists, and voice memos, and it syncs them to your online ReQall account so that you can access them from outside your iPhone.

The service will even convert your voice notes to written ones, a handy spin for impatient touchscreen typists.

ReQall is also useful for groups or work situations, provided your friends or coworkers sign up for the free service as well; a People tab lets you share your entries with selected contacts. ReQall also alerts you to items on your to-do lists in several ways, thanks to integrated functionality with instant-messaging clients (AIM and Yahoo Messenger) and email. You can get reminder blasts through each of those media, as well as pop-up reminders on your iPhone screen.

I experienced a few lag-time issues when testing the app, but no real deal-breakers. Also there's inexplicably no way to edit a to-do or shopping entry from your iPhone once you've saved it, even to add the day and time the task is due. You can, however, edit and manage your saved entries on ReQall's nicely designed website. The current iteration of ReQall is free but, according to its website, the company will start charging for it soon.

YPMobile

YPMobile puts searchable Yellow Pages listings right on your iPhone free of charge. In addition to searching for specific business names, YPMobile can also search by category: restaurant types, dry cleaners, barber shops, and the like.

Provided you allow YPMobile to use your current location data, your search results display in order of the businesses nearest to your current location, which is a great touch. Each listing offers the business's address and phone number (you tap the number to call them), as well as a user rating based on a five-star scale. You can add listings to your 'plan' for the day by hitting a plus button at the bottom of the screen, and you can bookmark and share business listings by adding them as a favourite. YPMobile's usefulness doesn't stop there, thanks to an events tab that lists upcoming concerts and happenings. Of the batch reviewed here, it's the most bug-free.

Right now, YPMobile works only with US businesses, but we're hopeful that this will stretch to our side of the pond sometime soon.

NEXT PAGE: Instapaper

  1. Make you life more efficient for free
  2. ReQall and YPMobile
  3. Instapaper

Visit Mobile Advisor for the latest mobile phone news, reviews, tips & tricks, as well as PC Advisor's unique Apple iPhone 3G Spotlight

Get the latest news about Apple and Apple products at PC Advisor's dedicated Apple News Spotlight



If your pocket is feeling a bit light after forking out for the new 3G iPhone, then check out our list of five productivity apps that cost absolutely nothing.

Instapaper

Instapaper is a way to create offline versions of your favourite web articles, allowing you to read them on your iPhone while you're on an airplane, in the subway tunnel, or otherwise out of signal range. However, in order to save a list of pages to read, you'll need to plan ahead and visit Instapaper.com beforehand using mobile Safari, choose your content, and then launch the Instapaper app to read it offline.

I only wish it had integrated functionality with the iPhone's mobile Safari browser; namely, the ability to save offline versions of articles by simply tapping a button within Safari.

After performing that rather irritating ritual (it's much less frustrating to use your laptop or desktop to save your content with the Instapaper site), the Instapaper app displays a list of all the pages you've saved. However, clicking on my entries brought up another buggy usability issue: an error message that read, ‘Sorry, this page is not available offline'. That's not entirely accurate, because tapping the 'Text' button at the top of the screen brought up an offline version of each saved page.

Once you get around the bugginess and the hoop-jumping, Instapaper is a nice way to read long articles offline, but the development team has a few kinks and usability issues to work out.

  1. Make you life more efficient for free
  2. ReQall and YPMobile
  3. Instapaper

Visit Mobile Advisor for the latest mobile phone news, reviews, tips & tricks, as well as PC Advisor's unique Apple iPhone 3G Spotlight

Get the latest news about Apple and Apple products at PC Advisor's dedicated Apple News Spotlight