The Olympics have begun and already frustrations bubbling over when trying to capture any of the action happening over in London. Unless you’re a Foxtel subscriber, you’ll be pretty hard pressed to grab much live action, even more so if you’re not a huge swimming or equestrian fan (seriously, what is with all the equestrian coverage??) and are keen to watch an event you may want to follow in this first week.
So a lot has changed since 2008 with how we source our information and how we like to watch our content. Since the insurgence of smartphones, there are now in 50% of Australians hands, so it’s hard to argue why we can’t get the content we want on devices we’re attached to the most during our day. Why does it seem that Channel 9 is stuck back in the Sydney 2000 era of broadcasting, and why is British cricket commentator Mark Nichols our de facto presenter.
Well, for the tech savvy out there, and who don’t live in the UK or USA, your mobile app selection is somewhat limited, but to drum it in home for how far Channel 9 has missed the mark, we’ve summarised the research Frankie Madden over at Stamford Interactive uncovered as to how we’ve progressed with technology as a nation, and then how far Channel 9 has missed a great opportunity.
As it’s become quite obvious to everyone outside of the Channel 9, we’re no longer glued to our televisions for coverage. If they don’t want to become a dinosaur, they’ll have make some changes quick. Let alone the ban on Olympic coverage on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
So what options do Australians have available? What do we have on offer? Let’s ignore Channel 9’s woeful, clunky online Catch-up that is hidden behind lengthy Commonwealth Bank commercials and not optimised for mobiles. Australian iPhone developers and Android developers must be rejoicing with the huge window open to showcase the Olympics. So what are the apps out there for over 50% of Australians with possible coverage in their hands with their smartphones and tablets?
The Official London 2012 Results app (Android and iOS)
Developed from within London’s Olympic committee, they have provided a top notch app for searching through events and getting the latest results and news. With a calendar one tap away, and the simple, colourful squared menu layout reminiscent of Apple’s iOS home screen, the app can tell you in Australian local time zones what time events will be competed for, which will then hopefully give you enough time to run to the pub and watch it unfold from their Foxtel connection.
With their tab layout along the bottom row for Schedule, Sports, Medals and Athletes, most of the information people would generally be after should only be only a few clicks away. In addition they’ve added a My Games tab so visitors can catch up on local news and information regarding their country and other general Olympic news.
Reuters Olympics London 2012 (iPhone and iPad)
Reuters have provided a minimalistic app aimed at a photographic viewpoint of the games and a very basic schedule and medal tally. Although it lack depth for information on the events, it does offer updated news stories that Reuters is generally known for.
Australian Olympic Team (iPhone, iPad and Android)
The official Australian Olympic Team app provides a simple, straight forward app with easy navigation to the different events that are on each day. It also includes the usual athlete profiles and medal tally’s we’ve starting to expect from an Olympic app.
Olympic Medal Alerts (iPhone and Android)
This is the International Olympic Committee’s official app for medal alert. After the lengthy scrolling to set up the app, its offerings are quite lacklustre compared to the other available apps. It does give you mobile and email alerts when your selected event is coming up for a medal contention. so maybe another app to keep on hand if you’re afraid you’ll miss something and can again head to the pub to watch it unfold live (if its open at that hour!).
LONDON 2012 Olympic Games App from FOXTEL (iPad only)
It’s ironic that although much much less than 50% of Australian’s have Foxtel access, that it is the only way to really watch the People’s games here. With the banishment of popular free portals like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, only subscribers to Murdoch’s media empire can you wilfully gain access. So after committing to a 12month subscription can you access streaming video from their Free* app.
But, it is actually a pretty good app. It offers most things that you’d expect for Olympic coverage with streaming video, schedules and updates all easily accessible. Let’s hope we don’t fall into this same problem in 4 years’ time otherwise the Olympics may implode on itself.
May the People’s Games be Free to All.
However, if you are the average Australian and keen to actually watch the Olympics, there is Freecast.com that is offers free coverage if you sign up. Although I’m not confident it will be there by the time the Closing Ceremony arrives.