MY BUSINESS CARD

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Price:  FREE

Version: 1.2.0.0  |  WINDOWS PHONE

A business card is one of the networking and client development tools every attorney needs. There are several Windows Phone apps to make sharing your business card easier.

A VIRTUAL BUSINESS CARD

My Business Card converts your contact information into a single QR code that can be read by and transferred to any smartphone with a QR code reader. Contact information can also be sent directly from the app via SMS text or email. Set up is easy. Once entered, the information you share can be modified in the settings menu by simply selecting the fields to display. What sets My Business Card apart from some of the other business card apps is that it includes fields for LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook links. There is no field specifically for a firm or business website URL. Hopefully, the developer will add that option in a future update. In the meantime, one of the two address fields can be used for a website URL.

My Business Card is an app worth adding to the attorney’s toolbox.

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CALENDARPRO DONATE | CALENDARPRO FREE

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Price:  FREE TO TRY; $1.99 TO BUY

Version: 1.7.0.0 updated 08/27/2013 |  WINDOWS PHONE

The stock Windows Phone calendar is beautifully minimal by design.  For busy lawyers, it is probably too simple.  How do I search for an appointment on my calendar?  Where is the week at a glance? Those features are missing in the Windows Phone 8 calendar. CalendarPro Donate and CalendarPro Free add a search tool, week at a glance, and other features while maintaining the metro / modern calendar design.

SEARCH

Because it syncs your Outlook, Google, Hotmail, and Yahoo accounts through a single email+accounts app, Windows Phone conveniently displays all of your appointments and events on a single calendar. CalendarPro is a separate app that works with the existing Windows Phone calendar.  It retains the multiple account integration and adds the functionality of searching for appointments and events across those multiple accounts.  Search results are instantaneously displayed beneath the search box and are color coded so you know at a glance whether the appointment is from your office Outlook calendar or your personal Hotmail account.  The search feature alone is worth the $1.99 donation.

APPOINTMENTS AT A GLANCE

CalendarPro’s list of features does not end with the search box.  The CalendarPro home screen includes a live tile with upcoming appointments,  From the app’s home screen, you can create appointment groups based on an item’s fields, including specific words in the subject line, organizer’s name, participants’ names, month, day of the week, and others.  The app developer successfully maintained the look of the stock Windows Phone calendar while enhancing it with the ability to actually see a list of daily appointments without leaving the month view screen.  A must-have feature when trying to set new appointments while avoiding scheduling conflicts.  Equally useful is the ability to view your calendar for an entire week. Now you can. In the CalendarPro week view, an overview of multiple appointments on a given day is visible by simply sliding the appointment list to the left. Simple and intuitive.

SHARE APPOINTMENTS & CREATE NEW ONES — BUT, NO EDITING

Tap any appointment and you will go to a new page with all of the event’s details along with options to pin it to the Start Screen, forward it by email, or create a similar new appointment.  Handy features.  But, there is at least one inconvenience — there is no feature to edit an existing appointment within CalendarPro.  To delete an item or edit the content, date, or time of an existing appointment on your phone, you will still need to open it in the stock calendar.  The developer is aware of the limitation and notes in the FAQ section that edit and delete features are planned for a future release.

VALUABLE APP

Be sure to check the privacy statement and the FAQs located in in the settings section of the app. There, you will also find options for customizing the app, including color coding items from multiple calendars.  If you follow the links to the Windows Store, you will see that the CalendarPro developer makes no secret of the fact that the free version is exactly the same as the donate version.  After taking the app for an extended test drive, I gladly donated $1.99 to support the developer and the app. CalendarPro transforms the Windows Phone calendar into an indispensable tool for tracking and organizing a busy life.

TASKETE

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Price:  FREE  |  WINDOWS PHONE

Too much to do and too little time? Taskete is a free feature-packed  to-do list app for Windows Phone to keep you on task and on time. The app separates your to-do list from your appointment calendar.  Taskete features the option of pinning a small or medium live tile to the Start Screen that displays the number of pending daily tasks.  Resize to a large tile, and a description of the first incomplete task along with the time due will display on the tile.  The oldest task remains on the tile until it is marked as complete.

Setting tasks is fast and simple. You can pin a separate quick set tile to the Start Screen so that with a single tap you are ready to set-up a new task. The date and time pickers are smaller versions of the familiar metro / modern UI standard.  Easy to use and intuitive. One limitation is that time is set and displayed in 24 hour format.  An AM / PM option would be a welcomed feature in the next update.

After you save a task, the app takes you to a list of pending tasks. Tap once on any pending task, and a drop down menu with four icons appears. Each icon is an advanced setting for that task. Make the task recurring.. Attach an action to the icon so that when the task alarm sounds, you can open the task and simply tap to call, email, or text a preset contact. The other twp  icons will reset the deadline by one hour or one day. To edit the title or deadline for any task, simply tap the task twice.

When the preset task deadline arrives, a pop-up alarm gives you the option to snooze or dismiss. Just note that dismissing the alarm does not mark the task as complete. You will need to open the task and mark the check box. There is an option in the settings menu to activate toast notifications for overdue tasks when the app is closed.  A helpful feature.

Within the app, slide over from the Task list, and a Calendar panel will show a month view.  Tap any date on the calendar and the app displays all of the tasks due on that date.

If you use Outlook on your desktop and rely on the task list in that application, you may not want to maintain a separate to-do list using Taskete.  But, if you always have your phone with you – even when sitting in front of your desk —  Taskete might be the only to-do list you need.  You can sync Outlook tasks to Windows Phone, but there is currently no option to pin those tasks to your Start Screen.  That is where Taskete shines.  The live tile, having all of your pending tasks a tap away, and the option of associating a contact with each task are features that make this free app a valuable organizational tool.

OFFICE | WORD | EXCEL

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FREE  |  WINDOWS PHONE

The ability to create, edit, and revise documents is important in the daily practice of law. Chances are you use Microsoft Word in your practice.  A mobile version of Microsoft Office is preloaded with Windows Phone 7.5, and Windows Phone 8, so there is no need to download or purchase basic productivity apps for your device.  The MS Office apps – Word, Excel, and PowerPoint — are integral to the Windows Phone experience.  Those apps attracted me to Windows Phone.  Their ease of use and familiarity convinced me to move to Windows Phone.

The integration of MS Office apps into Windows Phone is seamless. While the WP version of each Office app is scaled-down, the basics and a few bells and whistles are there.  The result makes opening email attachments, making quick edits, and even starting drafts on your phone simple.  Gone are the close-but-not-quite-there conversions that you might have experienced on other mobile platforms.

There is no need to convert back and forth between formats.  Now, those documents and spreadsheets you create on your office computer, laptop, Windows RT tablet, or on your phone can be edited anywhere.  Open MS Office on your phone, tap the “+” and you can start a new Word document or Excel spreadsheet, or use one of the templates provided.  Basic font tools are available, including bold, italic, underline, and strikethrough.  There are three highlight colors and three font colors available, too.  Reviewing a draft contract or pleading?  You can highlight text and attach a comment.  When you are finished, simply save the document to your phone or SkyDrive account.  When you are ready to share the draft, an icon on the screen lets you send it as an attachment with any of the email accounts you have set up on your phone, including Outlook and Gmail.

Word and Excel are two of the most-used tools legal professionals rely on in their offices each day.  Windows Phone makes it easy to take those tools with you – a key reason to seriously consider the Windows Phone platform.

Thanks for visiting.

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I’ll be reviewing Windows Phone and Windows apps of interest to lawyers and other legal professionals.  Check here for reviews of law-related apps as they are released, along with reviews of business, productivity, and general interest apps.