NBC releases two iPhone apps just in time for the Winter Olympics, with varying results

Feb 7, 2010
Misc

The Vancouver Winter Olympics are only a few days away, and this past week saw the release of two iPhone apps from NBC dedicated to the event. Though they were released in the same week and share some similarities, they serve very different purposes. The NBC Olympics Cheer iPhone app (free) is as much an advertisement for Coca-Cola as anything else. NBC Olympics on AT&T […]

The Vancouver Winter Olympics are only a few days away, and this past week saw the release of two iPhone apps from NBC dedicated to the event.

Though they were released in the same week and share some similarities, they serve very different purposes. The NBC Olympics Cheer iPhone app (free) is as much an advertisement for Coca-Cola as anything else.

NBC Olympics on AT&T is about as good of a Winter Olympic iPhone app as we have seen. It includes all the newsworthy items, such as medal counts, a countdown to the event, articles, schedules and just about everything else you could want.

The iPhone app also offers push notifications and has a good deal of video content already. According to its iTunes page, once the event begins, the videos will mostly be highlight packages.

As I mentioned, Olympics on AT&T also has some social networking options. There is a Twitter feed on the bottom of the main page, and it allows you to follow individual athletes, as well as post things to your Twitter and Facebook accounts.

The one disappointing part of the iPhone app is the design, which seems to be a recurring theme with NBC iPhone apps. I believe I described NBC Sports Mobile’s interface as a mess, and while this iPhone app is better, it’s still far from good.

For instance, the video and photo sections include a list of side-by-side options, but the fourth option is cut off half way. Once again, it looks like the tried to shrink a Web site design into iPhone app form, and it’s not a pleasant result.

Still, that’s a relatively small complaint about a really good iPhone app. If you plan on following the 2010 games, you should download it.

Olympics Cheer, on the other hand, leaves me scratching my head. After a few minutes with this iPhone app, I came to the conclusion that it simply doesn’t serve much of a purpose.

The iPhone app is a collection of sound clips such as a USA chant, crowd noise and audio from individual events. The problem, and it’s a big one, is that many of the clips are way too quiet and it’s difficult to understand them.

It’s sponsored by Coca-Cola, and you are constantly reminded of this. There are even Coke audio samples, such as fizzing soda and the pouring of a drink. I’m sure this is supposed to be a cute iPhone app, but it comes off as lazy and pointless.

The endless advertising I can actually stand, but for an audio-based iPhone app to be full of poor quality audio is unacceptable. Even though it’s free, I can’t imagine anyone getting anything out of this app.

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David Lister

David Lister is a freelance writer in Chicago. He is a former editor and writer at the NationalSportsReview.com and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. 

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