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Stay smart with these top reference apps for Android

by Kristen Nicole

Google search with Android is fairly helpful, but a good reference app can be the best way to find the information you need. Get little-known facts about your current location, or find all the details on a new medication. Whatever references you need can be downloaded to your Android phone!

Dictionaries, translators and such

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate is a mobile version of the trusted reference book, with some digital perks to distract from the $24.95 price tag. Voice search and audio pronunciations and translation to English are just a few features. The Android app also has learning tools, including flash cards and Word of the Day.

Google Translate will instantly translate text on your phone, supporting more than 50 languages. This free Android app also has text-to-speech translation options, voice input and a saved history for easy access to items you've already looked up. This Google tool is also used by many other apps in the market.

You can get Oxford references by way of Mobile Systems, with the $14.99 offerings of the Oxford Medical Dictionary. Containing more than 10,000 terms used in modern medicine, this reference Android app is a good medium between the pricier apps and the sparser free ones. The entire contents can be downloaded to your SD card in offline mode.

Wapedia is a wiki reference tool, with power-user features for mobile navigation. Free, this Android app searches Wikipedia and other wikis by category, and has a handful of genres for items in the news, featured content and random articles. There's also a home screen widget for even faster searches.

HearPlanet is a collection of audio guides, adding context to a number of locations around the world. Supporting thousands of locations from Paris to San Francisco, the $4.99 Android app also uses geolocation tools for information on nearby spots. Great for travelers and curious kids, this app will always keep you learning.

Niche references

Learning the basics is important for any subject, particularly math. The 99-cent Math Reference app covers arithmetic, algebra, geometry and measurements, with advanced math tools for trig, derivatives, stats, conversions and more. Easy to navigate, this Android app also comes with formula packs to keep you fresh between lessons.

Elements 2.0 is a free Android app containing the periodic table, for easy and color-coded references. Click on an element to view its details, including its atomic mass, appearance, density, electron configuration and more. For quick references, this Android app is handy for students and researchers.

Guitarist's Reference's colorful Android app looks like a game, but it packs quite a punch. Play cords and scales, run triads in any inversion, and see the relationship between chords and alternate tunings. Showing chord positions on a mini-fingerboard, the $2.99 app has configurations for left- and right-handed players, quizzes and training modes.

DroidLaw is off to a great start with its free Android app, aggregating federal rules for legal procedures in various states. Search and bookmark items of interest, add your own notes, and share them with friends. Content from DroidLaw can also be saved to your SD card.