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London 2012 App Changes How We Follow The Summer Olympics

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The iTunes App Store premiered with just over 500 apps the summer of 2008, just days before the Beijing Olympic opening ceremonies.  This marked the first time third-party apps were available for the then year-old iPhone. Four years later, as the world prepares for the London Games, we find ourselves in the midst of an exploding mobile app market with over 650,000 apps available in the App Store and over 30 billion downloaded.  Mobile has certainly made tremendous strides, and recurrent global events like the Olympics give us a chance to reflect on just how much our lives have changed in such a short amount of time.  But the Olympics don’t just mark time for mobile.  The two-week sprint of events with 26 sports, 17,000 athletes, and 200 participating countries makes for the perfect mobile-use case. A prime example of such a case is the London 2012 app.  Built on Titanium, London 2012 provides a simple, comprehensive way to stay on top of every Olympic event without the threat of information overload.

With over 15,000 downloads just last month, an average 5 star rating, and rankings in 78 countries, the London 2012 app has already found a large audience.  With a flood of Olympic apps released in the past month what sets London 2012 apart? “Simplicity,” says app developer Vishal Shah.  “I believe I have the right amount of information that any user will need for the upcoming Olympic Games. The app has very neat interface making it extremely easy to navigate, plus it caches the right amount of data which helps to run it even faster.

The app’s core feature is a Games directory with information on the date, venue, athletes, and countries competing for each event. You can also check out the Schedule tab to view all events organized by either date or sport.  Whether it’s the first heat or the final, London 2012 has the time, place, and competitors for each event.

The Medals section is where users can access a live scoreboard of all the Olympic finals results, including who gets the gold, silver, or bronze.  Currently, since the 2012 Olympics hasn’t started, that section is blank; but for now, you can see which countries made trips to the podium at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

A Countries tab is adorned with a directory of flag icons that allows users to access key facts on all 200 participating countries with a simple tap.  Shah has also included a veritable rolodex of interesting facts and notable athletes that when read together provide a compelling history of the Olympic Games.  Shah remarks that he has received the most positive feedback from this last feature, citing its ability to allow users to discover some of the best stories of past Olympiads. 

A final addition to the London 2012 app is crucial for keeping users up to date.  Shah has provided in-app access to all of the latest Olympics news stories and tweets from the officially sponsored London 2012 website and Twitter  feed.  Users have instant access to every Olympic happening with the flick of a finger, all in one easy-to-use app.

Shah, a full time PHP developer, just recently caught the bug for mobile app development, but found it difficult to get the ball rolling only working nights on his project.  When he found he was able to develop apps with JavaScript using Titanium, the pieces began to come together.  “I came across Titanium which sounded and looked easy to use,” said Shah. “It’s all JavaScript and that’s what I’ve been using since I began web development. I downloaded the ‘Kitchen Sink’ app, ran it in the iPhone simulator and said to myself, ‘That’s what I am looking for’.”

Now that we are light-years away from 2008 in terms of mobile development, it seems there’s no limit to what apps can do.  These advances have been easily abused though, as we have seen with apps that attempt to cram endless amounts of information into one spot; this often results in an app that is sluggish and near impossible to navigate.  Shah brings it back to basics with London 2012, giving users everything they need to stay on top of the event of the summer, without the filler. The end result is instant Olympic news that reads as intuitively as flipping through your contacts.

Whether you find yourself in London, your living room, or on the go, be sure to have the London 2012 app close at hand come July 27th. It’s available for free on iPhone and iPad in the App Store. Also be sure to check out these other Olympic apps built on Titanium.

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