“Cloud computing” technically means using online services, like Google, Facebook or Twitter. But in practice, what it means is that your desktop and mobile apps are tied into a web app or online service. That way you can have the same data and services everywhere that you go. Like how when you use Twitter on your Mac, on the PC at the library, or on your Android phone, it’s all the same. It’s cloud computing.
Here are the best Android apps that I’ve found for mobile cloud computing. Besides Twitter and Facebook apps…you should be able to find those by yourself!
Mint.com is a free personal finance app you can access online. It securely connects to your bank account, then lets you see how much cash you have on hand, without having to enter everything in by yourself. It tracks your purchases, shows you graphs and charts based on your activity, and categorizes things for you — so if you bought something at Whole Foods last Wednesday, it automatically marks that down as “groceries,” and you can correct it later if you like.
Not only is there a Mint.com app in the Android Market, but there’s also a widget and smart folder. The widget shows exactly how much cash you had last it checked and how much credit card debt you owed, and you can tap the button to refresh it and get an up-to-the-minute amount. Meanwhile, the Mint.com smart folder lets you see a list of your recent transactions, plus you can tap one to change its details.
AndroNoter is a dead-simple notetaking app that ties into the online Simplenote service. You can press a button to save your notes and sync them online, and then you can view all your notes in the app or by going to their website. There’s also a Firefox plugin that ties into Simplenote, or you can use the Mac notetaking app Notational Velocity to access your notes on your desktop.
Flickr Free is an open-source Flickr app for your Android phone. It ties into your online Flickr.com account, and lets you view all your photos and favorites, plus browse for more online. It also lets you upload photos to Flickr straight from your phone. And it has a very lightweight interface, that gets out of your way and lets you work with your photos.
You can already go to these websites from your Android phone and use their services there. That’s technically cloud computing. But the best way is to use an app, that runs faster than a website and is easier to use. Mint.com’s Android app is probably the best example, since its widget runs right on your home screen and is quicker to check than a website.
What’s your favorite mobile cloud computing app for Android? Scroll down and leave a comment; and whatever it is, I hope you have fun with it!