You’re a student and you use a smartphone. That magic rectangle is a communications hub, pocket camera, and social media headquarters. There are undoubtedly ways to use the device to increase your productivity, but with more than one million apps in the Play Store—Google’s official app marketplace—finding something worthwhile can be like throwing darts blindfolded. In order to help avoid that frustration, here is a selection of 5 of the most useful Android apps for the student lifestyle.
Evernote is the ultimate note taking app. While most phones come with a basic notes app, Evernote takes things to the next level by allowing you to create and organize text notes, to-dos, and task lists. You can attach pictures and sound recordings (such as lectures), and the app will even recognize the text from your snapshots, allowing you to digitize documents with the ability to search them. Best of all, Evernote is available on virtually every other platform—including iOS, OS X, Windows, and the web—which means everything you do will automatically sync between devices.
This is a fully featured app with many more capabilities than I can list here, so be sure to check out the official guide, Getting Started with Evernote. The free version is more than adequate for the casual user, and if you find yourself falling in love with the idea of a paperless existence, the premium version might just get you there.
When you absolutely have to wake up for that early class or exam, don’t rely on a clock radio or the default alarm clock app on your phone. Sure, those more traditional alarms are loud and sleep-disturbing, but they are easily dismissed/snoozed and make it all too likely that you will cheat yourself out of that head start you need. The I Can’t Wake Up! Alarm Clock won’t let you get away with that because it forces you to complete tasks in order to turn it off. You can choose between 8 different kinds of tasks, including math problems, memory games, and spatial puzzles designed to get your brain out of its slumber. Tasks like shaking the phone for a specified time and barcode scanning a particular object (preferably one in a different room) will get your body moving.
Okay, so this one isn’t academic in nature but I haven’t met a student who doesn’t appreciate what this app does. PVSTAR+ is an alternative to the official YouTube app and can search for and play videos from YouTube, DailyMotion, and Vimeo. These sites give easy access to a lot of great music content but anyone who has tried to use the YouTube app as a music player knows it performs poorly at this task—you can’t play a video in the background or with the screen off, or queue up songs on the fly. PVSTAR+ however, does, which also helps save battery power the next time your phone becomes the party jukebox. As always, streaming media uses the most data so make sure you know your data cap situation before loading up a 100 song playlist away from WiFi.
A clean and intuitive app that is what its name suggests. Timetable caters to university/school schedules better than Google Calendar, and allows you to not only plot your schedule, but record homework, tasks, and holidays.
Easily keep track of upcoming due dates and exams with automatic reminders, and add a widget to your home screen to keep what’s important at the forefront. The best part? Timetable will automatically put your phone on silent during class hours. Now that’s cool.
With all the switching we do these days between phone and computer, it can be difficult to keep all the articles, websites, and videos you’re interested in together in one place. Pocket solves this problem by storing these links online where they are synchronized between the phone app and your computer (through a simple browser extension for Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Internet Explorer.) Start reading an article in the morning on your laptop, save it to Pocket, open it up later on your phone to finish reading without having to search for it. You can use tags to organize your links and you can even view pages offline.