Smartphones offer you access to knowledge on any subject at the touch of the button. However, a handset's built-in tools may not always be the best means of discovering what you need to know. Instead, we've rounded up 10 free applications for Google Android phones that slice and dice the world of information in more personal or sophisticated ways, so that you're never at a loss when you absolutely have to know something right now.
Use Quirk Consulting's Quote Pro to stay on top of the stock market's ups and downs throughout the day. Check out any stock's current status using the symbol search, or assemble multiple portfolios of stocks to keep track of.
Quote Pro offers an at-a-glance summary of your chosen stocks, as well as a more detailed collection of streaming stock quotes, news feeds, trend charts and daily market information one tap deeper.
Mint.com is a free online personal finance and budgeting service that aggregates all of your banking, credit card, loan, investment and property information, helps you create a budget, and automatically assigns each expenditure to a particular budget line.
The Mint Android app gives you an easy-to-use and surprisingly thorough view into your Mint.com account, with a summary of your current total account balance, where you stand on your budget, and a rough monthly cash-flow analysis on the home screen.
Alerts also appear on the home screen, letting you know things such as when an account balance is low, when you're over budget in a particular area, or when you've received a large deposit or bank fee. Drilling down lets you view every transaction on each bank account or credit card, and assign it to a budget line if Mint.com hasn't already done so automatically (which it's surprisingly good at).
Make sure you set a four-digit passcode in the settings - although you can't make withdrawals or transfers through Mint.com, you probably don't want your entire financial history to be available to anyone who happens to pick up your phone. However, as transactions are displayed in dollars it might confuse some Brits.
Whether you're looking for a new home, selling your existing one or just curious about the state of the real estate market, the Zillow application puts a wealth of information at your fingertips. Using the phone's GPS, Zillow maps all the nearby properties that are on the market or have recently been sold; you can also search by address.
Click on any property for more information, including a surprisingly detailed description of the property, recent comparable sales in the area and a trend line showing the value of the property over the past 10 years. It might feel like spying, but Zillow uses only openly available information drawn from property listings and public records.
Zillow can also be useful for scouting high-end or inexpensive areas for your company's new HQ. Version 2.0 of the app provides driving directions from Google Maps and lets you save favourite searches or homes.
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