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The best Android reference apps of 2013

There are a lot of apps out there in the world of Android – no less than 700,000 of them, in fact. So searching through that lot, trying to separate the wheat from the chaff, can be a pretty thankless task.

Luckily, ITProPortal is here to provide a helping hand with our series of articles in which we're rounding up the top Android apps in various categories.

This is the third article in the series, and if you missed last week’s two episodes, catch up with them here: The best Android utility apps of 2013, and The best Android news apps of 2013.

This time, we’re looking at the world of reference apps. From Google’s expert reference apps themselves, such as Translate and Maps, through to WebMD and that font of all Internet knowledge Wikipedia, we’ve lined up some must-have apps from the Play store here.

So, without further ado, we'll start the show with... (free)

What makes the app useful is that the information is local. Rather than wait for the website to load, you can look up dictionary definitions immediately from the app. And it's free – although the free version of the app has advertisements.

However, you can always upgrade to the £1.97 paid version which dispenses with the ads.

Google Maps (free)

This is a pretty obvious choice, but still, Google Maps is a high quality affair which has long helped people navigate streets, landmarks, parks, and other outdoor locations all over the world. In November, Google added an indoor navigation feature that helps you confidently make your way around airports, stations, large retail outlets, and even Wembley stadium. (Incidentally, you can see our review of Google Maps here, although it's of the iOS version).

Google Translate (free)

Google Translate translates words into over 64 languages, and dictates them aloud. It's fast and stable, and works well for quick translations of a few words or a single sentence. However, it requires a constant Internet connection, as we noted in our review of the app.

IMDb Movies & TV (free)

The next time you can't remember the name of an actor, television show, or film, IMDb Movies & TV will save the day. Probably. It’s certainly one of the handiest reference websites on the planet, and IMDb never fails when it comes to looking up anything that pertains to TV, film, or Hollywood. The app also lets you find which movies are playing at your local cinema, and even purchase tickets.

OverDrive Media Console (free)

OverDrive lets you borrow EPUB eBooks, and audiobooks in MP3 format, from a global network of more than 13,000 libraries. The biggest drawback is that you have to store files locally, which hogs both memory and battery.

SoundHound (free)

SoundHound identifies virtually any song you hear or sing. Yes, it's similar to Shazam, but with a lot more features, like geo-tagging, music sales stats, and music videos.

WebMD for Android (free)

WebMD is much more than a diagnosis app, although you can certainly enter your symptoms and find some clues as to what's ailing you. The app also contains a considerable amount of other info, such as first-aid guides – simple instructions for dealing with an emergency that everyone should have accessible at any time. This free reference app is one that you’ll hopefully never need – but if you do, you'll be very glad you downloaded it.

Urban Dictionary (free)

Want to improve your street cred? is a popular user generated source of modern slang. This unofficial app includes everything you'll find on its website, plus a word of the day, so you can impress your bourgeois friends with unfamiliar phrases like "Blackberry roulette."

Wikipedia for Android (free)

The official Wikipedia Android app allows you to fluidly search, clip, and share entries through your device. There are loads of third-party clients, but this is the cleanest, most authentic Wikipedia experience available on Android.