Unless you have been living under a rock, I’m sure you are well aware that the Summer Olympics are currently underway in London. In the last 10 years, I have really loved watching and following the summer and winter Olympics a lot more than when I was growing up. While watching the gymnastics events on TV a few days ago, I decided to see if there were any cool Olympics apps available. I checked for both my iPad and my TouchPad, and both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store had Olympics banners advertising their apps.

The link in the App Store takes you to a list of seven apps. The Google Play banner link takes you to 13 apps. The two lists shared 6 of the same apps. The one extra for iOS is a tennis app, and most of the other Android ones were for different countries. This is most likely due to the fact that it is easier to get an app published for Android. But there was one Android app that I was a little surprised wasn’t on the iPad list: It was NBC’s official Olympics app, but was completely in Spanish. So if you want your Olympic news in Spanish, I hope you have an Android device. All of the apps – with the exception of one for iOS – are free. The one you have to pay for is a game that costs $0.99, but the Android version is free.

Of the six that you can find on either OS, two are from NBC, two are from London 2012 and are Official Olympics apps, and the last two are the game I already mentioned – and the last one has followed Team USA for the last year. Let me start by talking about the two apps from NBC.

NBC

If you look at  the ratings of all the apps, you will notice right away that the NBC apps are rated much worse than any of the other apps. I always check the reviews of any app before I download, but I usually download it anyways to see for myself if the reviews are bad. I’ve found that a lot of times the bad reviews are merited, but only for certain devices. Sometimes the app works flawlessly on my device, other times it really is a bad app. I’ve had not had a bad experience with the NBC apps on either of my tablets.

The two apps are NBC Olympics Live Extra, which is their video app, and NBC Olympics which has everything else. I can’t test the Live Extra app because apparently I don’t pay Comcast enough money each month to get access. I did test the NBC Olympics app, though, and I had no issues with it. In the app you can choose to see the Olympics results in a bunch of different ways. You can search by individual sports, results and schedules, TV listings, photos, videos, and also set your favorite sports for a quick link to them. The home page has some of the more popular news stories and articles featured, as well as a lot of other information to take in.

While the app did work well for me, I wouldn’t say that it was the best that it could have been. The app is plagued by ads of all shapes and sizes. Quite a few times they caused glitches for me, where the page I was trying to get to wouldn’t load but the ad did. One time I couldn’t finish an article because the ad kept the page from scrolling down far enough to read the whole thing. If you are looking for a particular country in the sports results, it could be hard to find. For example, in the beach volleyball results, you would have to know what group your country is in to easily find the results. It would have been better to list “USA v. GBR” as opposed to “Group E Match 21.” Overall, this is a decent app, but if you live outside of the US, you will find that it is definitely a US-centered app. All of the results are there, but most of the news and highlights are about the US.

NBC Olympics:


DownloadiTunes


Download: Google Play

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NBC Live Extra:


DownloadiTunes


Download: Google Play

London 2012

The two apps from official London 2012 have the highest ratings of all the Olympics apps. The apps are called Results and Join In. The results app home page is focused on the sports that are currently live. On the top of the page is a slideshow with the days top headlines, and to the right of that you can check out the current time in London, and also the progress of the games based on medals. There will be a total of 302 medals, and at the end of competition today, 113 have been handed out already. If you are looking for individual game results, they are a lot easier to find in this app than they were in the NBC one. Using my example about beach volleyball, you can quickly see all the matches in a scrollable list including the times of the matches that are scheduled. This allows you to quickly find your favorite country and check the results. As far as content, this app is pretty similar to the NBC one, but it is a lot more neutral, whereas the NBC one favors the US.

Join In is an app that is made for people attending the Olympics. I can see that it would be a very useful tool to have in London right now. If you are at the Olympics right now, you would probably find yourself in a city you’ve never been in, and possibly even in a country you’ve never been in. It’s hard enough to find your way around in a new place, but I can’t imagine what it would be like with a whole lot of other people that also don’t know where they are going. The app has guides, maps, a list of places, and schedules to help you find your way around London. Since most of the people that are reading this right now probably aren’t in London, I won’t go any farther into the app.

London 2012 Results:


Download: iTunes


Download: Google Play

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London 2012 Join In:


Download: iTunes


Download: Google Play

2012 Team USA Road to London

This app has been around since before the Olympic trials started a few months ago. The object of this app was to track the progress of the American athletes that are going to the Olympics. In this app you will find a lot more information on the US athletes than you will find in the other apps. If you are looking for Olympic information on any other country, then this app is definitely not for you. You can also donate to the US Olympic team directly from a link in the app if you want to support the team.


DownloadiTunes


Download: Google Play

London 2012 Official Mobile Game

The reviews for this app are kind of mixed, and most people say that the games are difficult to play. Like I said earlier, the Android app is free, but the iPad app is $0.99. The apps also have an in game purchase option to buy more stars, which you use to level your character. The game is available in eight languages and has nine Olympic events you can compete in. (Sadly beach volleyball is not one of them.) The app description says this app is not compatible with the iPod Touch, iPhone 3GS or the first generation iPad. If you are looking to be an Olympic star, this might be your only chance.


DownloadiTunes


Download: Google Play

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Overall the Official London 2012 apps are better the rest. It kind of looks like the NBC apps were a little cobbled together to make a little more money from ads. Any of them will do if you are just looking for a little more Olympics info on your tablet or smartphone. Hit up the App Store or Play Store and give them a try.