When you think of research these days, it seems automatic to use Wikipedia or Google as a starting point to help you find references to your subject matter. Beyond these common Web tools, there are even more reference resources that can help you look up information from difference sources. We’ve put together a list of our top reference apps that should be handy on your Android-based phone if you’re ever in need of doing a little research.
Kindle is not only the most popular e-book reader, but the number one destination to get digital books and read them. Owned by Amazon, Kindle is not only a device but an application on all the major platforms for getting and reading books. The application gives you access to the whole library of books available in the Kindle store — both free and paid. Owning a Kindle myself, I like the simple-to-use interface and dedicated reading environment — the same goes for the Kindle application, as well.
Google Play Books (Free)
A close competitor to the Kindle Bookstore is Google’s own bookstore that is filled with millions of books to read and purchase. The Google Play Books library is filled with books ranging from newly released New York Times bestsellers to those written by up-and-coming authors. The app lets you access all of these books from the cloud to retrieve to your device at any time. Along with accessing all of your Google books on your Android device, you can access them from the Web and iOS devices, too!
Everyone loves the mystery and beauty of outer space. At some point you’ve got to look into what’s really up there and admire some of the awesome photos that can be taken of space from light years away. This open source application is your guide to the night sky, and it will show you constellations, planets, moons, and more. It’s perfect for everyone from the amateur to the professional; if you need a quick reference point of the night sky, this app is great to keep handy.
For the quick and easy way to look up words, how they’re spelled, and their definitions, the best app to learn all of that is the one provided by Dictionary.com. Filled with a massive reference point for all the known words, you can quickly and easily settle disputes about what a word actually means. The app features words with their synonyms and antonyms, phonetic sayings, and even audio pronunciations of the words. This app is the one-stop shop for finding words and more.
The largest collection of encyclopedia-related articles can be found at Wikipedia; it has millions of pages dedicated to anything and everything that you could possibly look up. If you do any sort of research, this is often the default place to start — not, I would caution, as an end point, but a springboard toward other resources on your desired topic. When you’re on your mobile device and want to look up a specific object, the best place to find reliable information is Wikipedia. The mobile app is formatted to make browsing easy and clean for anyone to use.
Audible for Android
Admit it: Sometimes you’re too lazy to read, so you put it off and end up not reading anything. The fact of the matter is that reading helps the brain’s functions pertaining to imagery and keeps the brain learning. In a fast-paced life, who has time to read? That’s where Audible comes in. Instead of giving you the book to read yourself, you can have it read to you by some of the best voices in the world. Although the service is paid, it’s relatively cheap and its lowest end plan gives you one book a month to listen to, which is enough for the casual reader.
Urban Dictionary (Free)
There are two types of dictionaries in the world: the official one that has the common words used in everyday life, and the unofficial one that contains slang terms that caught on and got popular. Urban Dictionary is for those who may hear an unfamiliar term in everyday life that has a popular meaning but isn’t necessarily covered in the dictionary. Instead of risking embarrassment among your peers by asking what it means, there’s Urban Dictionary to save the day.
If you thought Google was a high-powered search engine, you haven’t tried WolframAlpha yet. Instead of returning Web search results to you, it gives you detailed information on questions that you may ask. For example, you could ask it what the population of Seattle, Washington was in 1980, and it would retrieve statistical data telling you all about the population of Seattle in 1980. It’s made for more than just searching the Web; it’s for searching data.
Moon Phase Pro ($0.99)
As I said before, everyone loves space. One of the closest things to us in space is our moon. If you’ve been alive for a while and you’ve been able to see the moon on a nightly basis, you might notice that it gets darker and darker as the days go past until it’s completely gone and starts to reappear again. These are called moon phases; this application maps out how the moon will look on a nightly basis and even give you information on the phases of the moon.
The Night Sky ($0.99)
If you want to get even more information about the night sky, check out this app. It gives you overviews of the night sky, what you can see at any particular time of year, and all the constellations that can be found around you. The application gives you the ability to be able to point out specific things in the night sky including planets, galaxies, and more. By using your GPS location data, it can tell you exactly what you should be able to see up in the night sky. The next time you’re going to go out and look at the stars, consider downloading this app and taking it with you.
If you think that we’ve missed anything, drop us a line in the comments below; we’d love to hear from you.