10 Apps for the 2012 Olympics (Update 1)
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The biggest social media platforms have been around for previous Olympics, including the Beijing Summer Games of 2008 and the Vancouver Winter Games of 2010. However, some are calling the London Summer Games of 2012 the "Socialympics."
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) even launched the Olympic Athletes' Hub, a site to connect fans with Olympic athletes, past and present, through Twitter and Facebook
"We are at a dawn of a new age of sharing and connecting, and London 2012 will ignite the first conversational Olympic Games (between athletes and fans) thanks to social media platforms and technology," said Alex Huot, head of social media for the IOC, in an email interview with ESPN Playbook.
The 2012 Summer Games is also a first for Apple's
With the London Olympics in full swing, TheStreet recommends these 10 apps to enhance your spectator experience:
NBCUniversal, majority owned by Comcast
In the "Socialympics" spirit, the NBC Olympics app also allows fans to follow their favorite sports, teams and athletes as well as engage with other fans through Facebook, Twitter and Google's
NBC Olympics Live Extra will stream all 3,500 hours of the Games live for those fans watching from afar or on the go; however users are required to login with cable, satellite or telecom TV subscription information. The image-heavy app offers access to alternative camera views and replays. Its Push Notifications feature can be set to provide fans with breaking news, reminders about event start times and event results.
Both of the NBC Olympics apps require iOS 5.0.
The London 2012: Official Join In App for the Olympic and Paralympic Games enables users to plan and share their viewer experience. This free, easy-to-use app offers a full schedule of Olympic events, videos, a map, which includes a My-Pin feature to share a location with friends, a visitors guide, social media feeds, news reports and official and unofficial photos. When the app is active, but not open, it sends notifications to the main screen of its subscribers' iPads about upcoming events.
The app's Places feature is particularly interesting for those curious about architecture and construction processes of the Olympic venues and surrounding city sites. Before construction began on the the Acquatic Center designed by world-renowned Saha Hadid, archaeological investigations discovered evidence of an Iron Age settlement, including an ancient burial site with four skeletons, according to the app.
Another unique component is the Walk in the Olympic Park, which directs users on a guided tour through waterways, greens, and venues. Visitors can learn about the Park's sustainable design - Did you know the Olympic Stadium is the most lightweight Olympic Stadium to date, for example?
The 2012 Team USA Road to London Olympics app provides extensive information about all U.S. athletes. The pages covering the 29 Olympic sports and 20 Paralympic sports include links to the official team websites, plus news features and links to Facebook and Twitter activity relevant to each sport.
There is a search function for the 529 athletes that qualified for the Summer 2012 Games, the hopefuls and the Summer 2012 Olympic and Paralympic trials. The unofficial head shots of the young talent inspire hope and pride in Team USA.
Although this is app is free and easy to use, it's slow.
Spectators watching the Olympics across NBCUniversal properties, such as NBC, NBC Sports Network, MSNBC, Bravo and CNBC, can use Shazam, most widely known as a music identification application, to have an interactive viewing experience.
The app identifies the relevant sporting event by "listening" to the TV broadcast and display details about athletes, event updates, results and medal count. Users can participate in viewer polls and discussions with the app's integrated social media features.
This free app is one of the Top Ten most downloaded apps on iTunes App Store, but these new features require iOS 5.0.
After a particularly wet summer in London, Olympic spectators should be prepared to cheer in the rain or shine.
Weather prediction application Dark Sky can help fans avoid melting in the sun or being drenched by the rain, by anticipating weather shifts minutes in advance. The app could tell its users, for example, that it will begin to rain in 9 minutes for 15 minutes, followed by a 26 minute break.
Not only is this app accurate, it uses beautiful high resolution animation to display the moving weather patterns. It's definitely worth the $3.99 investment.
Ubersense Coach is a free, easy-to-use app for the aspiring Olympic athletes and coaches. It enables athletes to upload or record video clips of swings, dives, pitches, jumps, hits and leaps and analyze techniques in slow motion, or on a frozen screen using angle measurement and comparison tools and a free-drawing feature. Users can save the feedback or analysis and share the modified video file on Facebook, Twitter, email or text message.
The comparison tool is probably the most effective training feature for aspiring Olympians. Those wanting to improve their jump shooting can compare their shots with LeBron James' by syncing the two clips and playing them side by side.
Fans traveling to London can share Olympic moments with friends and family using Touchnote Postcards, a free app for creating and sending customized postcards.
Users can select an image from a small library or Facebook or upload a new snapshot from the 2012 Olympic Games, add a message and personalized signature, and Touchnote Postcards will print and post it.
Depending on the sender's location, each postcard usually costs £1.49, $1.49 or ¿1.49; however because of a partnership with Samsung Mobile, users can send unlimited postcards free of charge during the Summer Games.
Olympic Games: Spartan Athletics is a 99 cent iPad game based on the ancient Olympic Games, a series of athletic competitions among representatives from the various city-states in Ancient Greece. Players select either a Pentathlon or a Single Event amongst High Jump, Long Jump, 100 meter dash, Shot Put, 110 meter Hurdles, 400 meter dash, Pole Vault, Discus, Javelin and 1,500 meter dash. Then, they select a character, with amusing names like Pectorius, Dashidakis, Thickilakis, based on speed, power, leap and technique and endurance rankings.
Players control the movements of the characters by swiping and flicking their fingers across the iPad screen. Unlike some other tablet games, the speed of the players' movements determine the pace and power of the characters' actions.
When spectators think they've watched enough of the Summer Games, they can test their knowledge with Mega Olympic Quiz.
The 99 cent app offers a trivia game covering facts about Olympians, sports and games. Users can modify the number of questions, time per question and difficulty. When the Quiz is complete, users can share their achievement (or failure) with friends on Twitter and Facebook.
An example of a medium-difficulty question portends to the number of continents a sport must be played on before the IOC will consider making it an Olympic event for men.
When the 2012 Summer Games come to a close, the medal winners will join the ranks of Olympians on Summer Medals. As a tribute to all Olympic stars around the world and throughout history, this free application enables users to search by Olympics, sport, medal or athlete through a roster.
At the 1896 Athens Games, there were 122 medal winners, primarily competing in Track and Field, Shooting, Gymnastics and Cycling. Over half of these Olympians hailed from Greece and the United States, according to this free application. A far cry from the 2008 Beijing Games, which celebrated 948 medal winners from across the globe, including one Taekwondo champion from war torn Afghanistan.
--Written by Nathalie Pierrepont in New York.
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