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The 25 Best Smartphone Apps Developed By Students

by Staff Writers

By the end of 2012, paid mobile apps are projected to be an $8 billion a year market. To put that in perspective, that’s how much money the entire National Football League brought in in 2010. So if you can’t throw a 70-yard pass or tackle a 250-pound running back, it might be wise to explore a career in app design. Many enterprising and creative students have already begun making waves in this still-new industry. Here are 25 of the best products they’ve come up with.

  1. Pulse News: One of the most successful apps of all time, the Pulse News reader was created in May 2010 by two Stanford grad students who subsequently sold the app and dropped out of school. The app aggregates news from blogs, websites, and social networks and combines them into one clear interface.
     
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  3. HBCU Buddy: Two Spellman College students developed this app in 2010 and won the AT&T Big Mobile on Campus Challenge for that year with it. The app allows you to view stats on every historically black college and university in the country, including average SAT scores and majors available.
     
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  5. Rover: Rover was the coming together of two Harvard guys’ programs. It allows students at Harvard and Cambridge to view deals, news, and events in and around the two schools from their smartphones. The app was the Big Mobile on Campus Challenge 2009 winner.
     
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  7. Power Planner: The brainchild of U of Arizona student Andrew Bares, Power Planner is "the ultimate homework" app. It lets students keep track of their schedules and even calculate their GPAs. The app recently won a top prize in the Big App on Campus contest sponsored by Microsoft.
     
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  9. CleverMiles: This app is still in development, but the team behind driving app CleverMiles already beat out 350,000 other participants in a Microsoft software design contest. The students from Sligo Institute of Technology designed the app to connect with a car’s onboard computer and rate the driving for safety, based on comparison with real-world crash figures.
     
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  11. MadPad: Banging garbage cans, screeching tires, and other everyday noises become music with this cool app. It was developed in a Stanford computer music class by a teaching assistant and has since been praised by TechCrunch, The New York Times, and Gizmodo.
     
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  13. Battery Go!: Three guys at Valparaiso turned their 2009 summer into a "self-imposed internship" during which they created this handy battery monitoring app for the iPhone. It soon became one of the top 100 paid apps and the guys have since formed their own software company, 9magnets.
     
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  15. Mafuta Go: This app created by students at Makerere University’s College of Computing in Uganda was chosen to represent the nation at the Mobile Premier Awards in 2012. The program helps motorists find the nearest and cheapest gas stations, as well as which stations have extras like food courts and car washes.
     
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  17. Jaadu Remote Desktop for Windows: Before leaving with his Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon grad student Jahanzeb Sherwani designed Jaadu VNC, a remote desktop client for smartphones. The success of the app helped him launch his company iTeleport in 2010.
     
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  19. Winter Survival Kit: Two computer engineering students at North Dakota State University crafted this potentially life-saving app. The Winter Survival Kit helps drivers stuck in severe wintry conditions by notifying family and emergency personnel, calculating how long they can run their car, and alerting them to important safety information periodically.
     
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  21. Movies: You have to be eagle-eyed to find his name on the iTunes store page, but Jeffrey Grossman was the guy who came up with this movie trailer, showtime, and review app. He was an incoming freshman at Carnegie Mellon when he released the hugely successful app, which Flixster soon negotiated to buy from him.
     
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  23. iParkedHere: In his senior year of high school, Brandon Cowan created this app to help drivers find their parked cars and keep track of time left on the meter. It became a top-grossing lifestyle app and was featured on the iTunes home page.
     
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  25. iHomework: Most students’ minds are not on homework on Christmas break. But Virginia Tech student Paul Pilone spent his entire Christmas vacation in 2008 working on this homework app that more than 22,000 students now use to keep track of assignments and projects.
     
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  27. ScanBizCards: CUNY student Chevon Christie is the brains behind ScanBizCards, an app that lets users scan others’ business cards and import the info to their smartphone contacts, or back it up in the cloud. The app won Christie a People’s Choice award at the Big App on Campus event.
     
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  29. College T.A.: Now in version 2.0, this app was created in 2011 by four Old Dominion students. The easy-to-use app streamlines college life for students, letting them organize classes and events, make to-do lists, and store prof contact info in one place.
     
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  31. Grades 2: This is the follow-up to the excellent Grades app developed by UNC Charlotte student Jeremy Olson. The app has been downloaded more than 100,000 times since its release in April 2011. Grades enables students to gauge what they need to make on upcoming tests to make an A in a class.
     
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  33. Quotebook: This app has been racking up rave reviews from outlets like Gizmodo and AppAdvice since being released by two New Jersey Institute of Technology students. It’s a simple program that lets users capture, store, organize, and share their favorite quotes.
     
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  35. Georgia Institute of Technology iPhone app: Many schools have similar apps, but few were designed by students and none top the features available in Georgia Tech’s app. Yellow Jackets can use the app to find their way around campus, view bus schedules, read news, and even buy football tickets.
     
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  37. Baconit: Quinn Damerell of Purdue designed this award-winning Reddit app for Windows-based smartphones, which still maintains a five-star rating after thousands of downloads. It’s a beautiful, smooth way to browse "the front page of the internet."
     
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  39. Sentinel Secondary: Granted, this app for a secondary school in West Vancouver has a bit of a niche market. However, considering it was designed by four students coding by hand, from scratch, with no training and not for any class or grade, we think their app for connecting students with school events, teachers websites, and an interactive school map is pretty stinking impressive.
     
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  41. SeizeTheDay: Downloaded nearly 200,000 times in its first few months, this iPhone app makes checking off your to-do list easier than ever. It was developed by Ben Gilbert, a computer science and engineering senior at Ohio State.
     
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  43. MobiAFG: Two Naval post-grad students created this app (short for MobileAfghanistan) as a primer for military personnel in the country to access vital information about Afghanistan, its culture, and its people. Once installed, the app runs without the need for an Internet connection, which can be hard to come by in the war-torn region.
     
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  45. CrimePush: University of New Hampshire School of Law in Concord student Eman Pahlavani has taken crime fighting to an new level with CrimePush. The mobile app has cool features like letting users shake the phone to send out a distress signal, and a timer alert that notifies emergency contacts if you don’t check in.
     
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  47. iRead Monthly: This app is our selection for "best app created by a fifth-grader." Yes, 10-year-old Daniel Chao of Lois Lenski Elementary in Denver created this app as a simple way for readers to track how much time they spend reading.
     
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  49. TX Snakes: If you live in the Lone Star State, Texas Tech student Jeremy Weaver has you covered. He designed this app to help you use photos to identify a copperhead from a rat snake and hundreds more varieties.
     
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