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8 essential mobile apps for college students

Susie Ochs | Aug. 30, 2013
Load up your mobile device with handy apps for taking notes, sharing files, recording lectures, managing your tasks, and (of course) reading books, and your road to the Dean's list will be a little less bumpy.

So where do you get those audio files of your lectures for Dragon to transcribe? Try AudioNote, $5 for Android or iOS. (Developer Luminant Software offers versions for Mac and Windows too.)

The built-in voice recorder can capture your lecture or small-group discussion, while you jot down notes that are automatically synced up to the recording. Later you can just tap a note to jump to that part of the recording. That means you no longer have to worry about scribbling down everything important that's said, and you can be more present in the discussion instead of focusing on taking detailed notes. You can email the notes and audio files together or separately.

Quickoffice Pro HD
Quickoffice Pro HD isn't cheap—it's $20 for Android tablets and the iPad, and the smaller-screen, non-HD version is $15 for Android phones and the iPhone.

But if you really need to create and edit Microsoft Office files (that's Word docs, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations) on the go, it's just the thing you need. Quickoffice integrates with Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, Box, SugarSync, and a few more cloud services, so wherever you park your files, you'll be able to access, edit, and share them with this app. And while the interfaces take a little while to get used to, they're well designed and generally free of clutter. Now that Google purchased Quickoffice, it's coming to Chrome too.

ZotPad and Zandy
Our roundup of must-have desktop software for students includes Zotero, a cross-platform tool for managing a library of scholarly articles and creating citations from them to insert into your own research papers. Guess what? There's a mobile app for that too.

ZotPad, $10 for iOS, lets you access anything in your Zotero library from your iPhone or iPad, syncing via the Zotero server, your own WebDAV server, or even Dropbox. It's a great way to keep up with your reading while you're commuting to and from campus.

Android users should try out Zandy, a $2 app that lets you view and edit your Zotero items and their file attachments, and add new items to your Zotero library.

Do we really have to tell you to get Dropbox? Hopefully not, but if you've managed to get this far without should still get Dropbox. You'll get 2GB of cloud storage for free, and it's probably the most versatile service out there for syncing data between your desktop, mobile, and dozens of compatible apps.

Dropbox makes sharing files easy too—the other people in your study group don't even need to be Dropbox users to send you files over the service, but if they're smart enough to get into college, they probably have Dropbox too. Sign up for an account and grab mobile apps for your Android, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, and Kindle Fire.


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