Priacta's smartphone/app recommendations (for TRO or GTD)

I am looking for a new phone that will work well to stay current with my laptop when that is not with me. Are there particular phones that work well or, more importantly, ones to avoid?


  • The best smartphone depends on which desktop task management app you use because those only work well with certain smartphone apps. Let's start by looking at the desktop apps, and you'll see the smartphone picture better that way.

    Here are my recommendations as of April 15, 2010:

    Web Apps
    These native apps automatically sync your tasks over the air and your task list is fast regardless of Internet access.

    Remember the Milk offers good apps for both iPhone and Android.
    Toodledo (a favorite of mine) syncs well with iPhone but not Android yet.
    Nozbe has an iPhone app.
    Things (Mac) has an iPhone app as well, though the TRO implementation with Things is just a tad more involved.

    Remember the Milk, Toodledo, and Nozbe are web apps that you can use on any desktop.

    Microsoft Outlook or Exchange
    There are decent solutions for iPhone via hosted Exchange Server (about $14/month) if you use Entourage 2008 (Mac) OR Outlook (Windows or Mac via VM software). You can also opt for manual sync.  On Android devices, Touchdown by NitroDesk looks good for Outlook either via ActiveSync Exchange or manual sync (but we're still evaluating it).

    On Blackberry devices, there are several apps that work well, including the built-in task manager, believe it or not. We recommend using hosted Blackberry Enterprise Server for over-the air automatic syncing but you will pay more than for hosted Exchange (around $24/month).

    Exact Setup Instructions and Smartphone Apps to Use:
    The exact apps to use and setup instructions are found in TRO Online Training in the Setup lesson, depending on your chosen training tools. Set up this way, they support our full Total, Relaxed Organization time management system inspired by GTD, Covey, and more.

    Avoid These:
    Do not get the Palm Pre unless you are willing to only see your tasks when you have a live Internet connection on your phone. This is a slow way to access your tasks on the road. There just aren't enough Pre apps. As an alternative, you can use an app called Pocket Tasks if you use Outlook on your desktop and sync manually on your machine via USB/Wi-Fi and Chapura Pocket Mirror.

    Remember the Milk and Toodledo apps for Blackberry and Windows Mobile are generally NOT effective, don't use that combination.

    And the Winner Is...

    Overall the iPhone clearly has the most options above. For my new phone, I am getting an iPhone 3GS for flexibility.
  • Here are the current, Priacta-recommended apps for different combinations of popular smartphones desktop/Web apps:

    TRO Online Training has full instructions for all the smartphone apps in that list, including:
    • Step-by-step setup
    • Syncing
    • Tips and cautions
    • Best practices for managing tasks on the road and at your desktop
    • Etc.
    The training lets you choose your tools, you can check the setup and experiment with that approach, then change your mind and switch training tools later if you want (to check out other options).
  • edited November 2011
    Between April of 2010 (when this question was asked) and January of 2011, Android overtook both iPhone and Blackberry to become the largest portion of the Smartphone market. 

    As of now (Nov 2011), Android is still growing, making up nearly half of all Smartphone sales. Samsung and HTC have both released phones that sell better with their carrier than the latest iPhones. 

    The reason people prefer Android over iPhone is simple: iPhone is one-size-fits-all, while you can pick whichever Android phone suits your needs. 

    From a time-management perspective, you'll be able to find good apps for either the iPhone or Android. Virtually anything you want to sync will go to either phone with little or no trouble.

    Personally, I use an HTC Evo3D, and it is one of the most incredible pieces of technology I've ever used. 
  • edited December 2011
    Hi, I have a samsung galaxy SII and a samsung galaxy Tab. What app do I need to use  TROG on these tools?   I use TROG bar on my windows 7 desktop. Please help!

    P.S. I have taken the TRO online training.
  • I also don't want to pay for an exchange server or other monthly service.
  • You can experiment with any tool that syncs with Outlook, but you're going to have severe limitations. For example, none of the tools will support marking emails as "completed", so if you are using Trog's email integration you'll feel crippled on your mobile device.

    In general I recommend against anything that tries to sync with Outlook. Outlook's data storage has a design flaw that makes robust syncing impossible. Tools that attempt to sync both ways with Outlook's data have been historically plagued by countless problems ranging anywhere from multiple duplicates of every record, to deletion of every record. Exchange Server operates at a lower level and IMO is the only safe way to replicate Outlook data to another PC or mobile device.
  • Ok, outlook kinda drives me nuts anyway.  What's the best android non-outlook solution?  Ideally I would be able to collaborate with my work team. The ones I'm looking at now are:
    Toodledo/ultimate to do list

    I'm open to looking at anything, just want to make a decision and move forward asap.
  • edited December 2011

    Here are your two best non-Outlook solutions:

    1) Donedesk. This will give you full collaboration with others, including people who aren't part of your team and who aren't even using Donedesk. The only drawback is that you won't have Android apps yet (Dec 2011), though you can still access everything in a web browser on your mobile device.

    2) Toodledo/Ultimate Todo List. This gives you a powerful tool and offline sync to your Android. The one thing it will not do is collaborate. (If you try to share tasks with someone, they will not be notified that they received a task, and you will not be notified if they complete it. Discussion is impossible.)

    So for the moment, you're forced to choose between collaboration and an offline Android app. (In the future, Donedesk will have Android apps.) We have full TRO trainings for both of the tools above. 

    Wrike does not have Android apps and does not get my recommendation for collaboration. You can see my review of Wrike here: 

    ~coach nate

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