Blog Post

Need a free mobile task manager? Try Wunderlist

For all of the advances smartphones have brought us, task management apps still have room for improvement. This weekend, gadget guru Ryan Block tweeted out the same, pointing out that current apps are too heavy, too light or missing features. I replied with my current tool of choice, Wunderlist, not realizing that the app was just about to get an overhaul on the Android (s goog) platform.

I started using the free software a few months ago because it met my basic criteria. First, any task app has to be cross-platform — iOS(s aapl) and Android at a minimum — so I’m not locked to a particular device. Second, it needs either a web app or a desktop app. Wunderlist actually has both, with clients for Windows (s msft) and Mac OS X, in addition to a web app. Tasks have to sync across all clients, of course, task entry should be both simple and flexible, while task reminders are a necessity.

Obviously, we all have our own preferred methods for task management, so Wunderlist may not work for everyone. But I’m willing to bet it could meet the needs of most readers based on the feature set and the fact that Wunderlist gained one million users just 275 days after launching. I particularly like how the web client looks nearly identical to the native mobile clients.

The Android version of Wunderlist just received a complete rewrite this week, and it shows. Performance is snappy and the software looks as good on Android as it does on iOS; see the image gallery below from my Galaxy Tab. Widget support was added as well; you can view your task list in the widget or tap it to open the full client and quickly add a new task.

I have noticed many comments on the Wunderlist blog suggesting that the software isn’t working well on Honeycomb tablets; my 7-inch Galaxy Tab runs Gingerbread, so I can’t speak to that issue. The software is running superbly on my portable slate.

Wunderlist is simple but effective. There’s an Inbox list for tasks, but you can create your own lists to group tasks by project, for example. Push notifications are supported on iOS, and with the new update, on Android as well. You can create a task by sending an email. And although I use the app for personal tasks, you can share tasks with others through email, social networks or a CloudApp function that generates a URL for task lists.

In the future, I’d like to see support for location-based reminders; something we’ll see in the upcoming iOS 5 Reminders app on Apple devices.

Again, we all have different methods for managing our tasks, so there’s no solution that will work for everyone. Wunderlist has many desirable features that fit my approach and at no cost, is worth the look if you’re on the hunt for a mobile task management solution. Thanks to an effective interface with solid features, cross-platform support and cloud synchronization, Wunderlist is mobile task management done right.

6 Responses to “Need a free mobile task manager? Try Wunderlist”

  1. I too had settled on Google Tasks and love the speed & syncing, but it became too unwieldy to group tasks by list (due to persistent bugs, but also b/c only tasks from your current list are shown in Calendar view) and to flag important/today tasks, so am giving Wunderlist a try now.

  2. I too will stick with Google. I use tasks, but I really make use of Google Calendar, for pretty much everything. I have three calendars for my students (three classes) that they can sync to their own calendars, with assignments, tasks, reminders, and so on. I also have a shared family calendar for reminders, to dos, even short shopping lists– which works well since we all have smart phones.

    Still, nice review Kevin.

  3. Dave Freeman

    Not bad, though I’ve been using Google Tasks for so long I’m reluctant to switch. Granted, it’s web-only, but the SSI GTasks to Go app/widget in the Android market does what I need on my smartphone. Since you need cross platform, stick with this. Since I don’t need iOS, I’ll stick with Google Tasks.