OfficeTime shows how sometimes, apps do it better

Aug 12, 2011
Tech

Editor’s Note: Both the free and paid ($7.99) versions of OfficeTime are now available for iPhone and iPad. It’s easy to think of apps as complements to their desktop counterparts. You use the Facebook app when it’s not convenient to be on your laptop, or the Pandora app when you want to listen to music on-the-go. But by […]

Editor’s Note: Both the free and paid ($7.99) versions of OfficeTime are now available for iPhone and iPad.

It’s easy to think of apps as complements to their desktop counterparts. You use the Facebook app when it’s not convenient to be on your laptop, or the Pandora app when you want to listen to music on-the-go.

But by now we should know that many apps can be just as essential as their desktop counterparts. Sometimes it’s easier to get the score of a game by jumping on your iPhone than to wade through your favorite sports website’s myriad of stories to get to the scores page, for instance.

OfficeTime, a time management tracking app set to be released shortly for the iPhone and iPad, could be yet another example of an app that outshines its desktop counterpart.

The desktop version, which can be found at officetime.net, offers small offices and freelance professionals the ability to more simply track how their time is being spent. Lawyers and writers can invoice easier or track where they’re spending the majority of their time better, and small teams can see how much time each team member is spending on a given project. You can also log expenses and take notes as needed.

Now, OfficeTime’s desktop client has had time to built up its feature set. Released in 2004, it’s been building towards its current state for seven years, but to me at least, its feature set sounds ideal for the mobile environment. After all, if you’re tracking time, you could be out and about and need to log something quickly without the use of a computer. In this way, OfficeTime, and other organizational apps like it, fare better than their desktop counterparts out of obvious necessity – your iPhone is always with you, your computer may not be.

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And surprisingly, given that this will be OfficeTime’s first mobile app, the feature set on the app closely mirrors its desktop pop. In my conversation with OfficeTime’s Director, Stephen Dodd, he noted that only the iCal integration and full invoicing were unavailable in the mobile version, but the app’s ability to auto-sync with the desktop client means you can time a meeting on-the-go and invoice it back at your desk. Meanwhile, the iCal events also sync back to your iPhone calendar.

In fact, Dodd is so proud of the mobile version of his creation that he admits it might be better than the desktop version.

“We took all our experience of years of talking with customers on the desktop version and applied it to the this version,” Dodd said. “I wish I could now redo the desktop version with what we’ve learned from iOS version. I guess it’s much like Lion where Apple took a great OS and applied some of what they learned from iOS.”

While time will tell whether consumers respond to OfficeTime, it still serves as another example of an app that can best its big brother software counterpart.

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Dan Kricke

Dan Kricke has been playing with electronics and writing about them for years. He loved his Sega Dreamcast and now the PlayStation 3. On the iPhone, he's a fan of sports apps and anything that offers new music.

 

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