I am doing research in theoretical physics, and have learned that smartphones can bring in a lot of distractions to your life if you want to focus on your research and study. Like facebook, twitter messages, random news feeds and so on. If I disable all apps, on the other hand, I will loose the benefit of owning a smartphone. In the limited time of using smartphones in my life, I have collected the following list of apps and things to have on a smartphone. I also have some questions marks for better alternatives. Please let us know if you have any other suggestions and recommendations to make the smartphone great for academic life.
There is an arXiv mobile app so that I can read paper anywhere whenever I find a chance (like sitting on a bus for commuting). I am sure you can use smartphones for StackExchange Q&A as well. Any apps that can allow me to read recommended papers based on my interests from all sourced journals as well as arXiv if possible?
Use a PDF scanner--in my case, clearScanner--to transfer a paper/blackboard note to the e-version and synchronize on a cloud (like dropbox or OneDrive) by taking a photo to a black/white-board or paper note. I also use EndNote to put all my notes together in order to edit them on my Thinkpad Yoga or X200 tablet when I get a chance.
Use twitter to only tweet academic content and build a network with researchers in the field. Then connect twitter with facebook to synchronize my content. This way, maybe less spam for me. Any other social network sources I shouldn't block and should cultivate using a smartphone?
I do use open-source version-control ideas for academic writing and coding. But I haven't found a way to get benefit from a smartphone for this purpose as I have a tablet and laptops to handle most of the mobile jobs. For example, I use github to version my bibtex file for bibliography records, but I haven't found a proper app to mobile bibtex on the go. Maybe there are some apps useful on a smartphone.
Use voice record to record my own talks and discussions with people if things are hard to understand and solve in a short time or I want to put the talk online along side with my slides. I haven't found an efficient way to combine the voice and slides seamlessly, though.
Keep the calendar running in the background for scheduling things with notifications. Same to emails.
Smartphones can easily track my physical fitness, but is there any way to track my academic fitness?
I have heard people using smartphones to track experimental equipment remotely and use all kinds of smartphone sensors to demonstrate physical lab experiments, but I really didn't go that far. Let's also keep this thought of train open if you have any recommendations.
Install a bar/QR code scanner, and it could be useful to scan and download a poster on your phone in conferences/workshops nowadays.