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The WolframAlpha app for Windows and Windows Phone 8.1 can be a student's best friend

In case you missed it, the WolframAlpha app has just been released for Windows and Windows Phone 8.1. The app has been available on other platforms like iOS, Android, Kindle, Nook, and of course, your web browser. After spending a few minutes with it, one thought comes to mind. This could have been really useful when I was a student! What is WolframAlpha? We'll show you in our hands-on video.

WolframAlpha (wolframalpha.com) uses its vast collection of algorithms and data to compute answers and generate reports for you. Some of the topics it can solve include mathematics, statistics, physics, chemistry, astronomy, earth science, and much more.

There's an input field where you can type what you want WolframAlpha to analyze or solve. It's a little overwhelming at first. What should you ask this intelligent system? Fortunately, the app provides several examples. They appear right below the input field.

My mind was blown away when looking at some of the mathematics examples. You can enter a formula like:

  • 2x^2 - 3xy + 4y^2 + 6x - 3y - 4 = 0

And WolframAlpha will solve for x and y. This could've made my homework back then much easier. More math examples include:

  • derivative of x^4 sin x
  • mean {21.3, 38.4, 12.7, 41.6}
  • factor x^3+2x^2+x+2

These are just math examples, too. It can handle several other topics. For example, you can compare two colleges:

  • Harvard University, Princeton University

Or find the Scrabble scores for certain words:

  • Scrabble xylophone

Or compare prices in different cities:

  • price of rent in Seattle vs NYC

Or do a mortgage computation:

  • mortgage $150,000, 6.5%, 30 years

Swiping on either of the Windows or Windows Phone 8.1 app lets you view your favorite or previous searches. What's also great is that whatever you search on your Windows Phone device, also shows up in your history in the Windows 8.1 app. It works the other way around too.

If there's a search that you frequently do on WolframAlpha, you can save it as a favorite. On Windows Phone, tap the three red dots on the lower right corner and then tap the star to save as favorite. On Windows 8.1, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and then tap favorite. What's strange is that favorites do not always sync on multiple devices. It only seems to work sometimes. You can also pin searches to your Start Screen.

WolframAlpha costs $2.99 without a free trial, but it is a universal Windows app. You can buy it once, and download it both on your phone and tablet. You can use WolframAlpha on your browser for free, so you're paying for the synchronized history, favorites, and optimized user interface for your device.

We think a lot of students are going to love this app on their Windows devices. What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

Mark Guim is Video Editor at Windows Central. He switched to Windows because the MacBook Pro isn't Pro enough. You can follow him on Twitter at @markguim.

79 Comments
  • Really great app. But should include a trial with the free web features.
  • This app with Cortana integration could be killer! =D
  • Great idea!
  • My thought too
  • There was a app called Guru Alpha wich had Cortana support. Sadly it was pulled from the store by the Wolfram team :(
  • The web browser is the free trial.
  • Go to walfarmalpha.com n u'll b able to do maximum of these features..
  • So if I can get it free on the web....
  • I think the app has some of the "pro" features that you have to pay for in the browser version (such as step by step solutions), at least that's what I heard
  • Yes, step by step solution come included in the App because in the browser they only give you the solution. I'm a student and I bought it yesterday to help me with the derivatives that I'm seeing in calculus, it helps a lot :D
  • Carlos, could you upload an example screenshot to see what the solution they provide you with is like? I'm interested in the app for this feature (rather than having to pay for the Pro subscription).   Also, does the app give other features of the Pro subcription?
  • Bought it great app using it.
  • Operator billing?
  • just use bing rewards to buy apps.
  • Need to be US resident...
  • Carrier billing seems to be working now. Try it. Worked for me.
  • I'd love to have this app. Unfortunately, there's no way to pay it without a credit card.. what a bummer.. would help me a lot on mine enginering degree
  • Yup :(
  • Buy a MS store gift card from target or somewhere and apply it to your account. Boom. No cc required
  • Even better, assuming you're in the US, use Bing rewards to get a $5 store credit on your account. Then it doesn't cost you anything!
  • not from the US to use Bing rewards. and MS gift cards not avaialable here in Portugal. sadly..
  • can you redeem the xbox gift card code in Portugal?
     
  • yes. i can redeem any gift card. it's only hard to find them.
  • Usa o MbNet. Cartões Mastercard também dão. O meu é cartão de débito e funciona.
  • e como usas isso?
  • O MbNet tens que o activar no multibanco, sai um papel com o Login e uma pass temporária. Depois vais ao site e metes os dados. E no site dá para criares cartões temporários com o limite de saldo que definires. Depois usas os dados do cartão temporário para compras. Podes ir ao site e ver melhor como funciona.
  • ok, muito obrigado pela informação. vou informar-me sobre esse método então :)
  • Cartões MasterCard é so adicionares na app da carteira.
  • Is it not an option to get a prepaid debit card or to buy a Microsoft Store gift card?
  • no gift cards avaiable here.
  • Make sure we hide this from the young ones. They'll be like, "Oh boy"!
  • Too late! c:
  • I used to use the mobile web site version in my HTC HD7 to cheat in the Calculus 3 tests... :P
  • lol this is why cellphones are banned in New York schools
  • You have no idea how difficult can be a test from the Mathematical part of the Computer Science degree!! Hahaha
  • Good luck! I had a hard time with the programming part for Computer Science.
  • The programming part was less hard than the mathematical one... :)
  • Hehehe. In my school if you're found with any electronic device, it will be confiscated and you have to pay to get it back at THE END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR.
  • YIKES!!!!!!!
  • Is that university or high school?
  • High School. Glad its my last few days in that prison.
  • Make it free with myAppFree app please!!!! For one day only! Fans will be so happy :')
  • +620
  • As an electrical engineer, IT IS the best friend for college! haha
  • Same here. I am an EE student, too.
  • Bought it the moment it hit the store. This will help tremendously for quick derivatives. An engineering students' best friend.
  • We need app gifting. I'd love to get this for my younger brother without having to put my card into his phone or get him a gift card...
  • Can I be your brother?
  • You could but I couldn't gift you the app anyway. :)
  • This, many times yes! I'd love to be able to gift paid apps to friends, and it's also allow developers to give away their apps for free during special promotions and/or contests. Perhaps even discount codes (so those eligible can get a discount on the app, without the developer having to open it to everyone).
  • Indeed, all needed.
  • Too bad I just graduated high school this year... Could've used it :/ Lol
  • At least give us a trial version
  • I can buy this app if it supported operator billing. I don't have credit card
  • Same here
  • Seriously man. I might have to bust this out when I get to grad school
  • I love using it via the web browser! I know Bing references Wolfram Alpha for a few computations (that's how I actually discovered and started using this service), but not many. I think Microsoft should strike a deal with them (Wolfram Alpha), just like Apple has for Siri. The computations it can perform far exceed Google or Bing, so I'd really like Cortana to be able to access this when I submit mathematical queries to her. Bing for web searches and basic calculations, Wolfram Alpha for the more advanced stuff. Anyways: I love this service, definitely buying the app! Super computer for hire, what more could one want?
  • Beautiful app!  Love that advanced keyboard! No offense to Mark though, but they should have had someone who actually has some engineering/math/science background to do the app demonstration properly.  He sounded like he didn't know what he was talking about and was just reading the labels on the app.
  • Why? I don't need an engineer to sell me a car.  Besides, the app is not just for people in those backgrounds.
  • Hmm guys use entropay nd convert your debit card into credit card.minimum amount you can top up is 20$.it works even in India for any visa debit card holder.They charge you only 1$ as commission.
  • Already bought it
  • If I buy for my phone do i get it for free on surface? Or is it a buy both thing?
  • Yes! If you buy it on your phone, your surface will tell you that you have paid for this app! I downloaded on my L820, and when I tried to download it on my Acer Iconia W7 it was free!
  • Shouldn't it be "buy once, use everywhere" or "buy once, download everywhere"?
  • Love me some wolfram. Got me through many a difficult Calculus homework problem. Glad to finally see a windows app for it.
  • On the website, some results are restricted (by computational time). Is the same situation with these apps??
  • Yes. You have to pay if you will the complete computational time, but I don't know if in the app you can log in with an account to do this
  • Thanks for pointing it out....i was really what this app is capable of... Gonna buy it :D
  • I enjoy wolfram, just wish it was faster!
  • OK... There are way too many Wolfram stories now. We get it.
  • But for our region we are left in the dark. We are being denied this opportunity as it is not in our region even though we are able to pay for it
  • Where do you live?
  • I can't find it on the store, what gives??? Did it get pulled?
  • I love the instruction "pidgeotto-like curve" hahaha Really i think is the best 'calculator' in the www, it does anything i use studying engineering, laplace, fourier, integers, diferential equations, partial diferential equations, all kind of physics... I can't replace Maple or Matlab on the pc, but for mobile is Great to have it on Windows!
  • Holy... The amount of Topics they cover is..... Now I wonder whether I should revert to my Country just to buy this (using operator billing), but worry whether Cortana will change when I'm doing that... Will she forget about me?
    *Serious Question
  • How useful is it outside the US?
  • WARNING to all students! DONT BY A WP!!!! no support from microsoft when sd etc not working on your brand new lumia.  
  • Anybody know why, after I've purchased this app on my Surface Pro 2, the Microsoft Store on my phone still asks me to pay again?   Thanks.
  • "You can buy it once, and download it both on your phone and tablet." *and desktop/laptop