Thursday, July 26, 2012

Best Apps for Live Olympic Games Watching from BBC, NBC, Reuters

Want the best apps to help you enjoy the Olympics on your smart phone or tablet? Go straight to the source: NBC will be broadcasting the games in the U.S., and the apps the network is offering will tap you into the games better than any other. Here’s a look at what NBC and other app developers have to offer.

BBC Olympics (for iOS, Android, and BlackBerry). The BBC says it will provide more than 2,500 hours of live coverage and daily text commentaries on its app. Guides to each sport provide history and general rules, why a particular sport is good for you (did you know archers can burn more than 300 calories an hour?), how Brits can get involved in the sport (nothing equivalent for those of us stateside, unfortunately), and the format of the competition at the games. You can customize the app by dragging your favorite sports to an always-visible bar at the bottom of the screen for quick access.

NBC Olympics Live Extra (for iOS and Android). Before the games even begin, prepare by selecting your favorite sports and events. Once you do, you’ll be notified by the app 15 minutes before showtime. Log in with your cable provider, and you’ll be able to watch events live on your tablet. In the weeks before the opening ceremonies, a Spotlight section featured previews of various sports, highlights of Olympic trials, and athlete interviews.

NBC Olympics (for iOS and Android). Two reasons to download this app to augment the live coverage: You love following and commenting on sporting events as they happen on Twitter, and you want to get the inside scoop about individual athletes. For the former, there’s a "Twitter tracker" built in, and you can choose to follow tweets about sports, athletes, or the "Tweet Sheet," which consists of tweets by the athletes. Link into your Twitter account to offer your own commentary. As for the athletes’ stories, you can search for your favorites or learn about some of the top-rated participants. You’ll get a bio, videos, photos, and the latest news about each.

Reuters Olympics London 2012 (for iOS). As you might expect from Reuters, this app’s emphasis is on the news coming out of the Olympics. It opens up with a photographic timeline showing the day’s events by sport. The app takes an interesting approach to presenting photos and information together. Tap on the “infographic” icon at the bottom of the screen, and informative tidbits pop up over the photo. Use finger gestures to move among the sets of facts on each photo. Most include data about the venue, number of competitors, and number of medal events for a given sport. A shot of the U.S. swimmer Cullen Jones, for example, also included facts about how the butterfly stroke was developed and the first man to swim 100 meters in less than a minute. That would be Johnny Weissmuller, better known as Tarzan.

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