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What About the Lawyer Apps for Android?

There was a short discussion on a listserv I’m on where a poster stated that he/she didn’t want to choose Android because “[The Droid Lawyer] said that there weren’t enough good Android apps for lawyers.”

While that’s flattering that someone trusts my opinion enough to sway them away from Android, I want to clarify that I don’t believe I’ve ever said Android is inferior to iOS because it lacks the requisite number of lawyer-specific apps. What’s more, if I did make a comment like that, I quickly retracted the comment (and here).

The fact is, although Android developers haven’t rushed to create Android-specific lawyer apps like TrialPad or iJuror, the developments will come, and are coming. Specifically, check out Depose (and here), which is only available on Android.

Moreover, as many Android attorneys discover, there’s a thin line between the apps we want and those we absolutely need. What everyone eventually discovers is that the number of apps, which are available for iOS and you depend on daily, are also available for Android users.

For instance, many attorneys depend on Evernote to manage case, client, and personal information. The app is available on Android and functions like its iOS brother. The same can be said about programs for MS Office, WordPerfect, Adobe PDF, deposition transcripts, and a slew of other apps. The truth is, as I said earlier, the limited number of times you’ll actually need to use apps like TrialPad or iJuror is so limited, that their absence from Android doesn’t matter. Incidentally, if you’re looking for the semi-iJuror experience, check out iJuror connect, which has some of the same features.

The second factor, and I think equally significant consideration, is that eventually developers will want and need to tap into the Android market. As the head-over-heels leader in mobile OS installs, Android developers will “greedily” tap that arena.

As the voice told Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams, “if you build it, they will come.” Introduction of the Android 4.0 and Android 4.1 operating systems revolutionized the Android experience, capitalizing on faster processing, a more-defined UI, and and overall better user experience.

So, now that Android is taking off, and especially since you’ll only scratch the surface on your need for specific applications, Android is an obvious choice to consider when you’re purchasing a tablet or smartphone for your law practice.

4 Responses to What About the Lawyer Apps for Android?

  1. Ted Brooks says:

    I’m no iFanboy, and I have written a number of legal technology articles and reviews for Law Technology News and my blog: http://trial-technology.blogspot.com

    I use an iPad and a Samsung Galaxy SII phone, and have tried to stay current with both. I’ve used some apps successfully on both, but there appear to be better options available for the iPad – at least in the legal space.

    There is some quality-control benefit to the app review process required by the iTunes Store, which is required prior to releasing to the public. In any event, it doesn’t matter how many apps are available, for as you’ve noted, you’ll likely only use a few.

    One other advantage of iOS is iTunes, and the ease with which you can add or remove devices, simply by logging into your account. This was partially remedied by the addition of the Google Play store, but still requires manually loading each app to a new device. Although I feel the Android phone is superior in many ways to the iPhone, the convenience is a real consideration.

    While I expect to see more coming for Android apps, the sharpest focus thus far has clearly been on iOS. If Windows tablets can ever get off the ground, that could change the whole game.

    • Ted, thanks for the comment.

      I’d respectfully disagree that iTunes has some superiority over Google Play, especially in the sense of control, because I don’t think that matters at all. In fact, my understanding from developers is that the reasons iOS became profoundly popular were because of the time on the market and ease of development. Obviously, iPhone/iPad came before Android tablets and phones, so that’s where the market of developers ran. As Android released the SDK, designing for Android phones and tablets became easier. Now, development of apps is quite simple and on-par, as my information comes, with iOS. I think we’ll start seeing a slurry of apps for Android, especially with the vastly-improved and empowered tablets.

      Second, I think you’re wrong about adding and removing devices or apps from an Android phone or tablet. It’s not complicated. I should blog about this, but Google Play’s setting are fairly easy to manipulate. My current list of devices if 4, each shown on my settings page, including what apps are installed on which device. Moreover, once you register your device with Google Play (or Amazon Appstore for Android), you can add over-the-air app downloads, which essentially speeds your install time to nothing. In fact, I downloaded 3 apps onto 3 different devices using OTA in about 1 minute and never touched the tablet or phone except to clear the notifications. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re not finding that on iTunes (and don’t try to tell me iCloud does the same thing, because sometimes, I don’t want the same app on all my devices).

  2. Ted Brooks says:

    Jeffrey -

    I hope you do share an article on how to manage everything on Android devices. I was only speaking from my personal experiences in upgrading to a new iPad, and to a new Android phone. Both were several months ago.

    For the Android phone, Google Play was recently released at the time, and it did have my apps listed, but I had to select each one and manually install it on my new device – no remote web control at that point. With iTunes, I connected to my computer, and cloned it from there. I even posted a feature request to Google at the time.

    After reading your response, I took another look at Google Play, and it sure looks different (read: better) than I recall. I love the fact that you can now control everything from one location. It’s amazing how quickly things change… Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks again, Ted. I’m sure you discovered what a number of people probably are discovering: Android isn’t the same as it used to be.

      Android took on a whole new look and feel with Android 4.0, which essentially revolutionized the system from performance to look. Google really to some initiative to boost design, performance, and usability. While it’s far from perfect (I’d like to see uniform re-syncing of non-purchased (free) apps, rather than just paid ones), it’s immensely more user-friendly.

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