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Five Apps You Didn't Know You Needed (But Shouldn't Be Without)

Check out these awesome apps you didn't know you needed until now. Check out these awesome apps you didn't know you needed until now.


Among the thousands of apps available in the Apple and Android Marketplaces, it is often easy to overlook some of the less advertised or publicized options. Most of us smart-phone owners have Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, but there are a lot of pretty fantastic programs that a lot of us may be missing as we browse our options. Luckily for you, our loyal Rosebud Magazine readers, we took the time to outline what we believe to be some of the brightest gems in the Apple App Store and Android Marketplace, and we think we have found something for everyone. Of course, many apps are exclusive to one operating system or the other, and in these cases we have carefully chosen the best alternative for the rival OS. You're welcome!

1.) WebMD (developer: WebMD) -- available for free on Apple iOS and Android.

Since its development in 1996, WebMD.com has become the go-to website for hypochondriacs as well as those of us with legitimate health-related queries. In 2012, our favorite comprehensive medical advice website is available on-the-go as an excellent free app. The WebMD app is every bit as useful and complete as its desktop counterpart, with symptom checker, detailed descriptions and treatments of all conditions, drug information with a pill identifier, first aid, and local health listings.

Users can sign-in to save our own personal conditions and treatment information, assisting us in keeping on top of our health care, all from the palm of our hand. In addition to the basic WebMD app, there are also versions specifically for parents of newborns (WebMD Baby) as well as doctors and other healthcare professionals (Medscape and TheHeart), all completely free. In the SmartPhone era, there is no excuse for being an un-empowered patient.

2.) Convert Units (developer: Free The Apps) -- available for free on Apple iOS.

For many of us American growers, unit conversion is a necessity as most nutrient companies measure their product using the Metric System, which our country seems strangely averse to adopting. Luckily, we have "Convert Units" for Apple and another free unit conversion app, "ConvertPad" by Sunny Moon, for Android. These two apps make our lives much easier, as they quickly convert Metric units to Imperial ones (or from one unit to another within the same system) and back again with the swipe of a touchscreen. This app handles measurements of grower necessities like volume, temperature, length, energy, time, and area, as well as power, pressure, speed, and angle, and even data and currency.

3.) iTranslate (developer: Sonico GmbH) -- available for free on Apple iOS.

This super-useful app is available as a free version and also as a $1.99 paid version, both of which are very handy in our multi-lingual world. The free version allows users to type in a word or phrase and instantly translate that text into one of 50 available languages, and some relatively non-creepy computerized voices can read the translation aloud to emphasize correct pronunciation. The paid incarnation does all of this, and also utilizes word-recognition technology to translate directly from speech, which can be really handy for travelers trying to quickly communicate with the locals. For Android users, Google Translate is very similar, and an excellent option.

4.) Rock Prodigy: Guitar (developer: The Way of H) -- available for free on Apple iOS and Android with additional purchasable tracks.

For anyone with a dream of becoming the next Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, or Roy Rogers (the bitchin' blues guitarist, not the cowboy, Google him,) Rock Prodigy: Guitar is your axe-shredding dream come true. This free app is essentially a pocket-sized guitar instructor, with lessons encompassing basic and advanced skills, and a built-in tuner for both acoustic and electric guitars. The app comes with one free demo track and hundreds of additional downloadable tracks available for purchase through the marketplace, much like Guitar Hero or Rock Band, but for real musicians. All tracks can be slowed down to teach users chords, picking, and proper finger positioning. Whether you hope to parley your skills into a budding music career or just hope to pick up a new hobby, Rock Prodigy: Guitar is a really fun way to spend your afternoon.

5.) StarWalk and SolarWalk (developer: Vito Technology) -- available for $2.99 each on Apple iOS

Ok, we cheated a little. Number five is actually two apps, and together they will cost you a whopping $5.98, clearly the priciest options on our list. They are also only available on the Apple iOS, but once you get a glimpse of these phenomenal apps you will see why anyone with an interest in the cosmos may just want to jump on the iBandwagon.

SolarWalk, which has been optimized for the new HD iPad, takes users on a 3D interactive journey through our solar system, from hot little Mercury all the way out to recently-demoted Pluto, passing through (with stunning 3D cross-sections) all of the planets, moons, and other assorted satellites in-between. This winner of many awards, including Apple's "Best Apps Of..." both 2010 and 2011, it's also one of the first apps to feature support for 3D televisions and wireless mirroring with AppleTV 2. Space junkies can even set the date and time to see what our solar system looked like at that exact moment.

StarWalk is a similar award-winning app that encompasses the entire known universe, but with less of an emphasis on 3D effects. Using GPS and motion tracking, StarWalk is the Star Chart of the digital age. It labels all stellar objects at which we point our iDevices, showing moon phases, constellations and real-time satellite tracking, with a night mode that adjusts your screen's contrast to preserve proper nighttime viewing. Google SkyMap is the best Android alternative available thus far, but it doesn't shine as brightly as StarWalk.

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Here's a cool app for all you space explorers out there.
Last modified on Monday, 01 October 2012 17:51

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