Anyone using a smartphone already knows how great it is to have everything you want right in your pocket. Wouldn’t it be even better, though, if you could turn your device into a fully functional organizer, managing everything from employee lists to business inventory to customer information? Well, there are a couple of apps for that: Bento for iPhone and DDH Software’s HanDBase for smartphones.
Bento ($4.99 for iPhone; $49 for desktop version, Mac only) features built-in templates that let you create numerous databases to help you stay organized. During testing, the application synced flawlessly with the Mac version of the program. This is important as it lets you manage your databases from not only the iPhone, but also from your desktop. One downside: Bento exports your information into a format readable only by the Bento desktop application.
HanDBase ($9.99 for iPhone; $24.99–$79.99 for Windows desktop version), on the other hand, allows multiple options for exporting information. Similar to Bento, HanDBase will allow you to sync to the HanDBase desktop application, but it will also let you export your information as a comma-separated text (.csv) file, which can be read by many other applications. HanDBase also works with BlackBerry and Palm OS (among several others); Bento, however, is limited to the iPhone.
HanDBase is also much more customizable and offers multiple views per database, as well as the ability to search by any database field. The only drawback of HanDBase is its appearance. Although it is a more powerful program overall, the cluttered and clunky interface leaves much to be desired. Bento, however, has a user-friendly and much more a esthetically pleasing interface.
Both Bento and HanDBase are solid database applications for the iPhone and smartphones. For ease of use, Bento takes the cake; but HanDBase truly shines with its overall ability
This article originally appeared in the January 2010 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.