Price: Free (ad supported)
The Good: The icon based (iPhone-style) sport/league/series selection interface is intuitive and allows a user to quickly drill-down into a particular sport/league/series. Notifications are vastly customizable to accommodate the most voracious fan as well as the casual observer.
The Bad: Photo browsing worked only occasionally. The phone’s “back” button sometimes returned me to the homescreen instead of back one level within the app.
Advice: SportsTap is the best sports score/news app in the Market, and at the tremendously attractive price of FREE, what are you waiting for?
SportsTap is a sports score and news app available for free in the Android Market (it’s ad-supported and is also available for the iPhone). The user interface is very iPhone-esque in that each sports league is represented by a colorful, square icon. If there are specific series within the selected league, those series are represented by a sub-set of icons. Once a user has drilled into the interface to landing page for any particular league, the current day’s scores, photos and news headlines are presented in a very logical and easy to understand way. Red circles found on the upper right-hand corner of any league or series icon indicates the number of games or matches currently in progress for that particular league or series.
For purposes of illustration, I’ll describe the experience within the MLB (Major League Baseball) section. The landing page of MLB lists the current day’s scores at the top (with links to the previous day’s scores and a preview of the subsequent day’s games), followed by a photos section in the middle, and a list of the day’s three or four top news stories towards the bottom. Below the news stories are links to more news, standings, transactions, season leaders and team schedules. Listings for upcoming games show the television and radio stations that will carry each game. A user can tap any game score listing to see more details for that particular game, whether it be the game summary for one that is in progress or has been completed, or a game projection and preview provided by AccuScore for a game that has not yet begun.
Summaries for games that are in progress are very neat. Not only can a user see the box score, the app also shows the location of base runners, the pitcher’s name, the batter’s name, and get this...the pitch-count with continuously updated notifications when an event happens (e.g. hit, foul ball, fly-out, end of inning, etc.). The only thing that would prevent a user from using SportsTap as a game-cast (think ESPN.com) is that the phone screen’s backlight will likely be set to turn off after a certain period of non-use (mine is 30 seconds). There may be a toggle widget available in the Market to selectively turn the auto-backlight dimmer on and off, I’m not sure (if not, there should be). The “All Plays” link next to the “Scoring Summary” tab shows a list of every play made during a game.
Other sports leagues do not contain quite as much detailed information as the MLB in SportsTap, but I found scores, news and standings for every league that I looked at for this review, so most fans of most mainstream sports (sorry, you curling fans) should be satisfied.
Notifications and Widget
The preferences within the SportsTap app allow a user to select their favorite teams for purposes of sporting event notifications as well as the events for which the user would like a notification, and the frequency with which alerts are updated. Notifications are really well executed and would do a great job notifying a fan when a game starts, when a team scores, and when the game ends. The SportsTap homescreen widget allows a user to scroll forward to see the current day’s game scores for the user’s favorite teams as selected in the app preferences (or game time for games that haven’t started), as well as the game schedule for the upcoming five days and game scores for the for those teams for the preceding five days.
To sum up the experience, I think SportsTap is fantastic and most anyone who thinks they might want to know something about current events in the sports world should download it. There is something for everyone from the most casual observer of any mainstream sport to the die-hard fanatic. While it’s easy to find most any score or current event news item without a ton of time spent searching through the app, it is a little more time consuming to learn and understand just how many options are available for those who want to use the more advanced features. As a bonus, for those who enjoy the sports related information presented by SportsTap aggregated in one place while at a computer, SportsTap’s website offers the same great user interface, information and features. If there's a great feature of SportsTap that I didn’t describe, let me (and your fellow readers) in on it in the comments!