Many have been counting down since the Vancouver Olympics of 2010, but for kids who may have been too young to read or pay attention, the Olympics in London 2012 is totally something to get excited about!
Here are some apps to help follow along and keep tabs of all the exciting things happening. Please note that these apps were tested on a new (3rd generation) iPad.
London 2012 Results App – free for iOS and Android
As the official London 2012 Results App, users should be able to count on this being the most up-to-date source of information for Olympics news. Currently, there’s a countdown, a listing of next live events (which you can see on a calendar on your own local time zone), bios on various athletes (searchable by sport or country) and an upcoming list of medals won. Users can also see and study the design of the 2012 Olympics medals up close through some high-resolution photos.
The interface is sort of blockish, the advertising is a little overbearing (size-wise), and users are, at times, hit over the head with the idea of needing to link Twitter and Facebook, but the calendar has a nice design to it (listing sports by icons and chunks of time per day) and there’s built-in reuse for a future component to follow the Paralympics. This app will be updated constantly, so the bugs and kinks might even be worked out by the time you read this.
There are also links to the Olympics store and to users’ own country team websites, as well as explanations of various sports for which the font can be resized, so there are lots of ways to get kids (and grandparents) involved, both for reading, learning about different sports and countries. Also, watching the opening ceremonies is a great way to learn about different country flags. For the extra mile, challenge kids to find out at least one interesting fact about as many countries as possible.
For those who would like a much simpler (but unrelated) version of this app, download iOS app (which was free at the time of this review) Easy Guide for Olympic. Developer Samuele De Cosmis has used the official London 2012 icons as simple orange and black silhouettes; parsed the key facts, basics and a simplified history of each sport; put up a straightforward countdown to the Opening Ceremonies; and listed the schedule of each event with location.
Several news agencies have come out with their own apps with which to follow the Olympics, like the BBC and Reuters.
The BBC app is available free for iOS, Blackberry and Android. For the iPad, users will be stuck using a magnified version of the iPhone/iTouch version, but even so, there are fairly high-resolution (albeit small) videos, news articles, schedule, and categories of news and guides pertaining to each sport. Perhaps the best feature of this app is the live streaming and text coverage starting July 25 2012. Users can also search through medal listings, athletes (select by sports/countries), and countries (for news, basic geographic and flag information). A mobile version of the BBC Sport website will also have all the up-to-date news coverage.
By far the sleekest in design and user interface (UI), the Reuters app is available free for iOS. The iPad version features stunning photography, and fluffy feel-good photojournalistic pieces like athletes and their daily intake of food. Integration with social media sharing has been worked out quite nicely. It’s subtle with tasteful, tiny icons, so it’s not screaming, “GO TO OUR FACEBOOK PAGE.” With photos, users can also read factoids like, “The 100 M has been contested at the Games since 1896” and information about individual photographers when it’s available.
Ad-sponsored free iPhone app, Olympics NEWS! by Mokyn is a news reader app which collects articles from a variety of different news sources according to sport. If users are interested in something particular, the app can also input keywords to add to the category search list.
Lucky Americans are the only nationals able to access the new NBC 2012 London Olympics apps for iOS and Android since it’s only available on the US stores. But the idea is that devices turn into secondary screens while watching to keep track of things like scores.
Individual Countries / Sports
Certain countries’ teams like Team USA, Team IRL (Ireland), Team Slovenia (iOS and Android) and Team Austria have published their own apps so that users can pay close attention to all Olympic-related things of that specific country. It seems as if Team Austria has totally gone on a social media blitz, and even has its own SoundCloud page. Or at least, its supporters are taking to the Net.
Some individual sports federations have published their own apps, like the International Tennis Federation. This one seems quite nicely designed with scores, a schedule, news, draws (in proper diagram format), players, event info, photos, Tweets and Olympic Tennis History.
Either way, local news websites will be loaded with Olympics coverage so there won’t be a shortage anywhere. Apps are perhaps an easier way to keep track of what’s going on when, especially if notifications are enabled, and a more streamlined, focused experience. If you happen to be going to London and physically attending Olympics events, be sure to do a quick scour for relevant city-related apps, most importantly grabbing the Join In London 2012 app available here.
May the best teams win!
Image Source: London