You Should Always Have a Ruler and a Compass

Your smart devices would be a whole lot more useful if they had better toolkits – apps that do more scrape content from news, sports and shopping websites. Here are some free apps to turn your Android smartphone or tablet into a way-cool multi-tool that does more than play your iTunes.

A Ruler and a Compass

Since you never really know what tools you need, treat yourself to some handy apps that can help you handle the unexpected. For instance, Compass 360 Pro by Vapps Soft Co. really is a working compass. Ruler App is a real ruler that can measure in inches and centimeters, while Bubble Level uses your smart device’s internal technology to level surfaces and set plumb lines.

Productivity Apps

Of course, you should also have better apps to help you do business in the mobile economy.

In addition to an office suite like WPS Office and OfficeSuite to accommodate word-processing and spreadsheets, you should also install Adobe’s Acrobat Reader to view PDFs.

Good calendars, memo pads and calculators are also must-haves, so if you don’t like the ones that came with the device, try:

•             aCalendar by Tapir Apps – a versatile, flexible calendar that works with the factory-installed calendar

•             ColorNotes and MiMoment – sticky-notes-based memo apps that also store copies of your notes and reminders.

There are almost too many good calculator apps, from the simple to the scientific, to count, so pick one that suits. You’ll even find apps that function reliably as ten-key adding machines.

You also need a timer, a stopwatch and a reliable alarm clock. Apps Timely by Bitspin and Relax and Sleep will help keep you a schedule almost immediately.

If you’re expected to report on or gather bar codes and QR codes, AT&T Code Scanner and QR Droid are easy to use and very stable.

Your Mobile Utility Belt

No modern mobile toolkit would be complete without utility apps that extend your capabilities on the fly.

For instance, you should learn to use your smart device’s camera to scan and copy printed documents. Many good scanner apps are already available for download. All you have to do is find one that works the way you do.

Install Screenshot by Kastor Soft for an easy utility to do screen captures on your smartphone.

You’ll also need a good video player like J2 Interactive’s MX Player that can play back video in almost any format. It even offers codecs for ARMv5TE, ARMv6, ARMv7 and Tegra 3 video processors.

To crop and add notes to images, you need an image editor like Art Flow, Corel Paint or Image Editor by Byte Mobile. Again, there are many such apps to choose from. Look for one that offers you the most flexibility in image formats and tools.

For more general utilities try:

•             Perpetual Calendar – Find past and future dates

•             Convert Everything – Convert units of measure from standard to metric and find measures for recipes and almost anything else

•             Fraction Converter – Find fraction and decimal equivalents

Last but not least, you’ll be a better shopper with a list app like Pangola’s Shop Calc that let’s you set a budget and then enter prices and quantities and calculate sales tax. It can also export your shopping lists to other apps for sharing and comparing.

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