It's no revelation that the iPhone, the App Store and now the iPad, have created an entirely new technology ecosystem -- apps. There are currently more than 250,000 apps for Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) platforms. For small business computing users who want to get project management and collaboration with others in hand -- literally -- now there's one more.
Power.ME from AppTime provides mobile project management and tracking capabilities in an inexpensive package that runs on iPhones, on the iPod Touch and on the iPad. You can also connect via a Web browser using both PCs and Macs.
"I like to think about how people work [so] we've built a tool for professionals," Curtis Tirrell, CEO of AppTime, told Small Business Computing. Power.ME is now available on the App Store.
Power.ME consists of a software app for iPhone and iPad coupled with the company's Power.ME back-end servers which provide back up and synchronization services. The services are provided through a one-year subscription, but AppTime offers a 30-day trial.
Without a subscription, however, the capability to synchronize with other collaborators and automated backups shut down when the trial period expires.
The subscription only costs $40 per year per user. However, a project leader with a subscription can still send assignments to collaborators who are not signed up for the subscription service, and those collaborators receive an email with a link that takes them to the Power.ME server to view assigned tasks, but not synchronize with other users, the company said.
The Power.ME application for the iPhone and iPod Touch costs $19.99, while the version for the iPad costs $29.99. One benefit of buying the iPad app -- named Power.ME HD -- is that the package comes with both the iPhone and the iPad apps.
You can also run the two apps in different devices simultaneously -- one on an iPhone and the other on an iPad. In addition, the iPhone app can be run on an iPad but with a reduced display size. Power.ME and Power.ME HD require Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iOS 3.1 or later.
Additionally, the company is working on a version of Power.ME for Android phones, although it hasn't yet said when it will be available. AppTime does not currently have plans to support the Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows Phone 7 handsets which are due out in the next few weeks, Tirrell said.
Serious Task Management
Tirrell founded AppTime in 2007 in order to build business applications for mobile environments, according to a company backgrounder.
"The company designs mobile apps to give people the tools and information they need to make quick and accurate decisions at any time from any location," the backgrounder said.
"People on the move demand three key things from their mobile management tools: protection and security of information, an efficient learning curve including time-to-setup, and synchronization of information on all mobile devices. Power.ME is the only solution that provides all three," Tirrell said in a statement.
Power.ME provides project, task, folder and document management on the user's Apple mobile device, with features that go well beyond simple task managers by syncing up all registered collaborators so that everyone can stay up to speed on the latest project status.
The Power.ME app lets you define a new project, create sub-projects to support it, set up necessary tasks, and assign and track their status as collaborators accomplish them -- updating status on their own devices. Unregistered collaborators can be notified of task assignments via email from within Power.ME.
When a registered user wants to type in long notes or do other project management tasks that may not lend themselves to a touchscreen keyboard rather than a physical keyboard, Power.ME is available via a Web browser on either Windows or a Mac.
Due to Power.ME's synchronization and secure storage capabilities, all of your devices stay in sync and all of the files and data from the app is securely backed up onto the Power.ME servers, the company said.
When it comes to document management support, you can upload Word, PDF, Excel and PowerPoint file formats to Power.ME.
One analyst said he's impressed with the functionality that Power.ME provides in a device as small as an iPhone or iPad.
"I thought it was a pretty interesting app," Chris Hazelton, research director for mobile and wireless, at analysis firm The 451 Group, told Small Business Computing.
For one thing, it lets you share documents and tasks with co-workers without have to have a big on-premises project management system back at the office, he said.
"If you're out in the field and don't have your laptop with you, you're still able to access that information," Hazelton said. "If you're a small business road warrior, you could live in this app."
Beyond that, though, is a larger trend. The arrival of professional apps designed with small businesses in mind, and running on popular mobile devices, is changing the way small businesses manage projects.
"People are shifting their patterns for how they compute. Providing [tools like Power.ME] in small mobile devices could resonate with small businesses," Hazelton added.
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