10 free Android apps for staying in the know

Owning an Android smartphone means never having to say 'I don't know.'

The promise of a smartphone is that you have the world's knowledge at your fingertips anywhere you go. Since Google is committed to organizing the world's knowledge, it seems only natural that its Android operating system, now available in dozens of smartphones and other devices worldwide, would excel at bringing you that information.

But you may not always find Android's built-in tools to be the best means of discovering what you need to know. Here, then, are several free applications, all available in the Android Market, 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.

[Don't have an Android phone? Many of the apps listed here are also available for the iPhone. For other smartphone platforms, check out 10 must-have free BlackBerry apps, 10 essential BlackBerry apps for travel or 10 must-have free Palm webOS apps.]

Howcast

Learn how to do just about anything with Howcast's short, fun video instructions. Topics range from how to name a business to how to poach a salmon, each with an approximately two-minute streaming video explaining what to do. If you're in a situation where watching a video would be awkward, tap the menu to get a text transcription.

You can search for particular topics or view all the available lessons by category. Or, if you're just in a learning mood, shake your phone and Howcast will serve up a random video on how to separate an egg, how to tie a noose knot, how to jump-start your car, how to bleach your hair, how to photograph landscapes, how to use a drill, how to throw a princess party, how to clean a furnace filter, how to take dogs camping, how to hit a baseball to the opposite field...

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Republished with permission from Computerworld (view original version)

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