As the Olympics 2012 London Games begin, many of us will be watching delayed broadcasts of the event on our television screens. Folks at work will steal glances at scores and live competitions streaming to their workstation computers. Many more will share and receive the more jaw-dropping and memorable events via YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Those of you with smartphone or tablet devices will be digging around for apps that will help consume and share the Olympics while on the go. Here are a few of the Olympics 2012 apps you’ll want to be taking a look at if you’re going to be using a portable device over the next few weeks. All of these apps are available in both Android and iOS flavors (and their links are provided below).
NBC Olympics and NBC Olympics Live Extra
The NBC Olympics app includes TV listings, online (live video) listings, schedules, results, medal counts, news, videos, and photos. Athlete profiles contain full biographies as well as news, videos, and photos related to the athlete or the sport in which he or she competes. Sport profiles offer similar content, adding a link to the medal counts, schedules, and results sections of the app.
A feature called Primetime Companion promises to provide real-time interactive content synced live to our television broadcast. (This feature will start working during the opening ceremonies. Currently, this feature displays a clock counting down the minutes until the prime time show begins.)
Much of the content provides the customary one-tap Facebook and Twitter access we’ve come to expect to find in social apps; this one also includes a Google+ icon. There is also a Twitter tracker in the app, “tracking the real-time Olympic pulse through Twitter,” listing the top trending sports and the number of tweets regarding the Olympics. (As I’m writing this, the current count of Olympic tweets is nearly 10 million. I’m sure it will be orders of magnitude beyond that tally before the Olympics are over.) A feature called Olympic Talk contains articles that might not fit into other categories, such as one titled “NBC Olympics’ Social Guide to the 2012 Summer Games.” In a section called Destination London, the content appears designed to provide those interested with some background information about the host city. Another section, the purpose of which currently eludes me, is called Hometown Coverage. This feature requires the user to enter their ZIP code and TV provider information. (I don’t yet see what the resulting information has to do with my hometown, but perhaps this will become more apparent once the games begin.)
The NBC Olympics Live Extra app is a companion app, launched when the user clicks one of the live aspects of the NBC Olympics app. Live Extra features live video, promising “every event of the Olympics LIVE!” In addition, the app provides alternative camera views and full replays of events. A feature called Gold Zone reminds me of NFL Network’s Red Zone, providing live coverage of every gold medal event. Most live streams will also have digital video recording (DVR) capabilities, as well.
One potential hiccup with Live Extra: If you do not currently subscribe to cable, satellite, or telco television, you may not be able to access all (or any) of this app’s content. Users are required to perform a simple setup process in which the user’s TV provider is selected and an access password is obtained. More information about this process is available in the Live Extra area of the NBC Olympics website.
The Official London 2012 Results
This app provides news, schedules, and results in a different type of format than that of NBC’s app. The app’s interface is composed of colorful lists rather than editorial content. This app is suited for quick access to information, providing data for both the Olympics and the Paralympic Games. There are articles to read and photographs to enjoy, but there are no videos to watch. As a result, the app seems snappy to the touch, rendering quickly. Any stats lovers are sure to enjoy using this app.
The app provides up-to-date lists of all the athletes, the competitions, the results, medal tables, schedules, details about sports, and athlete profiles. The app seems to have been designed by those understanding the need to pull up information quickly and using different sorting methods, such as by searching by country or sport or medal count. The NBC Olympics apps are about presenting stories, while this app is about presenting information. Fantasy franchise owners would love an app like this for their imaginary football and baseball teams.
Team USA 2012 Road to London
The official Team USA 2012 Road to London app features editorial content focused on a particular sport and athlete(s) each day. Today, for example, the app features an overview of track and field, listing USA athletes who have qualified for the competition, along with personal biographies and recent articles related to the athletes. Articles are able to be shared via Facebook and Twitter icons. There are also “cheer” buttons listed on some of the athletes’ profiles, apparently aimed at assisting users in sending personal messages to athletes’ Facebook or Twitter accounts. (Many athletes didn’t have either a Facebook or a Twitter account available to “cheer.”) There is also a photo gallery and a few links to videos related to the Olympics.
These aren’t the only Olympics 2012 apps, but they are the official ones put out by the primary broadcaster and organizers of the event. There are a variety of other apps available in both the Google Play store and Apple App Store, including games based on the London Games. If you try one of these apps or another app out there, let me know what you dig about the app(s) in the comments section below — and enjoy the games!