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In Pictures: Most popular mobile apps in 6 key industries

Some industries adopt technology more quickly than others, but even the most careful and slowest-moving industries have bought into the value of mobile apps. Here are the top 10 apps in each of six major industries.

  • Mobile devices and the apps they carry have transformed the way employees do their jobs in industry after industry. Slow adopters in manufacturing and the public sector have jumped on the mobile bandwagon. Tech-weary doctors and nurses are warming to tablets. Highly regulated companies in financial services love mobility. Retailers know a hot trend when they see it. Even the poorly funded education sector is getting its hands on mobile devices and apps. Check out the most popular, publicly available mobile apps these industries are pushing out to employees.

  • Education Learns the Value of Mobile Apps Students at high schools and colleges across the nation used to want their MTV -- now they want their iPads. OK, we've just horribly dated ourselves here, but it's true. The Los Angeles Unified School District, for instance, is in the middle of a massive iPad rollout. Universities in California, Texas, Florida and others have iPad programs for students. Educational book publishers are getting on board with ebooks.

  • Public Sector Gets in the App Game From police officers to firefighters to public transit workers, it seems just about everyone in the public sector is going mobile -- and they have the apps to prove it. Location-based apps and apps quickly delivering information at their fingertips are some of the most valuable. A good many of these apps are probably homegrown, yet there are some publicly available ones that have become popular.

  • Manufacturers Brings Mobility to Factory Floors Tablets and smartphones have been showing up on factory floors, replacing paper binders for manufacturing salespeople, and being used by technicians out in the field repairing machinery. It's not just iPads, either. Android tablets are getting down and dirty on factory floors, and taking a bite out of Apple iPad's dominance there, according to GE Intelligent Platforms, which provides solutions primarily for industrial environments and municipalities.

  • Healthcare Mobility a Hit With Doctors and Patients Most doctors shun new technology (almost) like the plague, but simple-to-use tablets and smartphones have helped them overcome their technophobia. In fact, they've become one of the biggest early adopters and using mobile devices for patient care. Patients, too, are using mobile health apps for a variety of health and wellness purposes, from monitoring diet and exercise to controlling diabetes. It's a mobile health world, also known as mHealth.

  • Retailers Ring Up Mobile Sales Retailers love mobile apps, which turn salespeople into point-of-sale cash registers and customer data collection points. Slick tablets and smartphones also make retailers look the part: fashionistas whose finger is on the pulse of the latest consumer trends. Mobile devices that let merchants swipe credit cards and ring up sales are showing up at coffee shops, restaurants and even renaissance faires.

  • Financial Services on Verge of Mobile Boom You'd think financial services, with its regulations and data security requirements, would take a pass on mobile devices and new-fangled apps -- but you'd be wrong. Finance companies are some of the biggest champions of mobility. The number of smartphones in financial services will double in the next year; the average financial company supports 7,430 smartphones today, which will grow to more than 14,000, according to a Ponemon survey.

  • Mobile Apps Across Industries The app iBooks earned a spot in the top 10 of all six industries; apparently, lots of companies across industries want their employees to read ebooks and PDFs. Dropbox is the most popular file-sharing app but not where security is paramount, such as in healthcare and finance (although rogue use of Dropbox is another matter). Google Chrome is one of the most popular distributed browsers. Cisco AnyConnect is popular in many industries, too, "possibly hinting that organizations are still working to give employees access to resources behind the firewall and legacy applications," says Jonathan Dale, a Fiberlink spokesman.

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