The Android Market offers some pretty stiff competition when it comes to live sports apps. As a sports junkie, I have tried my fair share of these apps, and have grown to love ScoreMobile.

When looking for a sports app that keeps up to the minute scores, I knew I was not asking for much. I just wanted an app that was quick, accurate, and user friendly. With the ScoreMobile app I got all of those things and much more.

Right off the bat you are given a menu with a list of all the major sports that are played. That includes anything from NFL football to mixed martial arts. This main screen is customizable so that you can arrange your favorite sports so that they pop up first on the screen.

After selecting a sport, the schedule for the most recent games pops up, along with gambling lines for each specific game. ScoreMobile offers the point spread, along with the over/under line for those familiar with gambling.  Each game is then broken down with a very in depth match up preview, along with a detailed injury report for both teams. This screen also gives users the ability to sync an alarm on their phone calender as a reminder not to miss the game, the local TV broadcast channel is also listed for each game.

Hitting the menu button on your Droid will also give users additional options when using this app. There is a news link that is constantly updated from multiple sources, always keeping up to date sports news available. Users can also use this menu to access video clips, standings, statistics, and scores from other games.

Score updating is very quick and accurate, compared to ESPN and other sports sites it is very much on point. How often updates are sent to your phone can be modified by changing the auto refresh settings. It can be as little as 30 seconds, or as long as 5 minutes. A full stats sheet is also updated live during each game.

The only complaint that I have with ScoreMobile is that it doesn’t offer a play by play description. I can’t complain too much though because the other scoring apps offering play by play are very laggy. I am willing to give up that minor detail if that means receiving quick score updates.

ScoreMobile is a must have for any sports fan. It’s accuracy, ease of use, and speedy score updates make it a great app for Android users. Unless ESPN or another company can put out a better product, I can say for sure that ScoreMobile will continue to be my go to score keeper.

 

Market Rating: 4.5/5

My Rating: 5/5

With Christmas and New Years freshly over, I think it is safe to say that many Americans consumed their fair share of alcohol. I can say for sure that I am one of them.

While walking around the liqour store with friends, we kept asking each other, “what do we want to drink?” After several empty handed trips around the store, I pulled out my phone and downloaded the Bartender app. I then quickly scrolled through the hundreds of drinks.

Playing with the app, I quickly saw that you could narrow down your mixed drink search by ingredients, ratings, or by alphabetical order. We then grabbed a few bottles of our favorite alcohol, and decided we could come up with tons of great concoctions to try.

Admittedly, I have not heard of a fraction of the hundreds of drinks listed on the Bartender app. That’s not to say I didn’t try to familiarize myself with a few on New Year’s eve. After scrolling through several times, I could see that many of the basic drinks are listed, though I am sure there are some that have been left out. I really liked the fact that you could create a favorites list, because honesty after a few drinks I really don’t remember what I was drinking.

After using this app several times, I have never experienced a force close. Bartender has always opened and functioned very quickly and smoothly. I don’t care for the fact that there are ads on the bottom of the page, but that is to be expected with most free apps. No perfect, but a great, quick, reference that is pretty well organized. After a few drinks, does it really matter that much anyways?

Market Rating: 4/5

My Rating: 4/5

 

Toshiba, the Japanese computer and flat screen TV maker, is planning to unveil its newest version of the tablet at the CES this week in Las Vegas. The device is tentatively known as the Toshiba Tablet, and offers a 10.1 inch touch screen, slightly larger than the 9.7 inch offered on the iPad. The new tablet is set to run off of an Android version known as Honeycomb.

The Toshiba Tablet is expected to be released around June of this year. While a price has not been announced, it is expected to be competitive with the iPad. Apple’s iPad ranges between $499 and $829 depending upon memory and other capabilities.

In addition  to having 1080 p video playback, the tablet will offer a HDMI port that will allow it to connect to a HDTV. The iPad also lacks support for Flash content, while the Toshiba Tablet will have full Flash support. The tablet will also have front and rear facing cameras so that it can enable video chat .  More details will be available after the CES this week.

Verizon is about to drop it’s first 4G LTE ready smart phone on the market. The HTC Thunderbolt is following on the heels of its 4G brothers, the EVO 4G (Sprint) and the G2 (T-Mobile). While the phone has been slowly leaked for months it appears that Verizon is ready to officially unveil it during the 2011 CES on January 6th.

The Thunderbolt is expected to be equipped with a 4.3-inch touch screen, an 8-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash, and also a front-facing camera. Other rumored details include a kickstand like the EVO4G, microSD card, and a 1.2 Ghz dual core processor.

HTC Thunderbolt projected specs:

  • 4.3-inch touchscreen, 16.78 million colors.
  • Android OS 2.3 Gingerbread.
  • Qualcomm MSM8960 dual-core processor 1.2GHz.
  • 8-megapixel camera (primary).
  • 5-megapixel camera (secondary).
  • Hotspot capable.
  • GPS, aGPS.
  • 1080p Full HD video recording and playback.
  • GSM / Quad Band | GPRS / EDGE / 3G / HSPA / LTE.
  • Wi-Fi 2.11 b / g / n.
  • Kickstand.
  • Bluetooth.
  • 16GB Internal Memory | Expansion per 128GB microSDXC.
  • Battery 1800mAh.

NFL Mobile: A Big Hit

Posted: January 2, 2011 in Apps

Right out of the gate, I was not sure what to expect from the NFL Mobile app. Being a huge fantasy football guy, I did have to give it a go just out of principle. I was very happy, and very surprised.  NFL Mobile does not do a lot for me, but it does what I need it too.

I don’t use the NFL Mobile app to track scores, or keep track of fantasy stats. NFL mobile is very capable of doing those things, and even has an upgradable player tracker for $4.99 where it will give you updates, and video highlights of selected players. I am a very cheap SOB, and don’t like to pay for things that I can easily get for free.

Where NFL mobile really shines, is in the video content that comes with the free portion of the app. It gives you instant access to the NFL Network. This lets you stream the channel straight to your phone. This is perfect for when you are stuck shopping with the wifeuu, or away from the TV, and just want to chill out and get up to date NFL coverage.

The second thing having the NFL network is great for is that you get all of the Thursday Night and Sunday Night football games streamed right to your phone. Absolutely great for when you are out and cannot be around the TV. Also, I have Brighthouse, and don’t get the NFL Network with my cable subscription. Right from my phone, I get instant access to these live games. When watching the games from the 3G network the picture can get a bit blurry, but most of the time it is still very watchable. If a Wi-Fi network is close by, you can expect a very good quality connection to be made.  You may experience an occasional drop in signal, but that can be fixed by simply restarting the app.

For every fantasy football fan, the gem of this app is having the Red Zone channel on Sundays. This part of the app is golden, just like the other 2 channels you get the live stream of the Red Zone channel.  This shows you every touchdown of every game either live, or right after it happens. You are taken from game to game during red zone opportunities, so you don’t miss a second of the most important action. The best part is that there are no commercials, only football from start to finish.

I must say that this app exceeded my expectations. I love the fact that besides having access to live scores and stats, NFL Mobile  gives users great quality streams of NFL network and games. There are a few shortcomings, and they do try to upgrade you to paid content, but the free content exceeds most others, The future and potential of streaming video apps is on display, and hopefully other quality channels will be added to the mobile TV experience.

Market Rating: 4/5

My Rating: 4.5/5

iheartradio: so bipolar

Posted: January 1, 2011 in Apps
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This is the app that I think everybody wants to love. Unfortunately, this app often leaves me salivating over its potential. The iheartradio (IHR) web page claims that Android users are given access to over 300 Clear Channel radio stations with this app. I have yet to browse all 300 plus stations, but I have tried many of my favorite channels. One of my favorite FM radio stations is just out of reach while driving in my car, so iheartradio gives me access to this station while driving.  I was so stoked when I found out that I could listen to stations from all over the country, because the same 10 to 15 FM stations get old quickly.

So, whats the problem with IHR? The fact that it drops signal way too often, ranging from a few seconds to minutes. At first, I thought that I was just hitting dead spots while driving in certain areas. This may be the case, however, I often bust out this app while sitting at home, and still find that signal is lost for several seconds at a time. When I am at home I do find that the dropped stations are much less frequent. Usually, I can count on a station to be dropped at least 3 to 4 times in an hour on average.

I am running IHR on a Samsung Fascinate, and am happy to say that I have not had any issues with force closing. I previously ran IHR on a HTC Eris, and did experience a decent amount of force closes. The only issue that I have, is when I am browsing the internet or using another app, IHR seems to lose signal on a more frequent basis. I would blame my phone, but I have other radio apps that do not falter while running other apps simultaneously.

Realistically, it all comes down to your tolerance for an app that randomly drops its signal whenever it wants to. Some people might find it a minor annoyance, while others will prefer to just stick with other radio apps like Pandora. Since I love listening to some of these stations that I simply cannot find anywhere else, I will continue to put up with the random signal drops. I do hope the Clear Channel looks into this apps shortcomings, because when working properly IHR is great. Unfortunately for radio lovers,  that is a very big “when”.

 

Market Rating: 3/5

My Rating: 3/5

Angry Birds: A Closer Look

Posted: December 24, 2010 in Games

Admittedly,  I was a latecomer to the Angry Birds craze on the Android. I would repeatedly pass over this game when looking for a new game to play. I think in my mind, I was asking myself “how can a game about pissed off birds possibly be fun?”  Boy, was I wrong! I have been playing this game non-stop for weeks.

Right off the bat you are given the basic premise of the game, which is to destroy all of the green pigs on the board. To destroy these strategically placed pigs, you are given a few angry birds, and a slingshot. By using your finger to pull back on the slingshot, you can control the speed and direction that the bird will fly. This is greatly important because the pigs are rearranged during each level and hidden by various obstacles like ice, wood, or concrete. Using your projectile birds, you must determine the proper angle and velocity needed to destroy all of the pigs, with the allotted number of birds.

As the levels increase, so does the difficulty of the game. Thankfully, you are given different types of birds that provide you with more tools to complete the missions.  F0r example, after shooting a black bird from the sling it will explode like a bomb by tapping the touch screen. There are various birds that can bomb, multiply, and speed through these tough obstacles.

Many of the levels will take several attempts to beat, sometimes they seem impossible. You will be left scratching your head, wishing you paid more attention in middle school geometry class. The level of difficulty will leave you coming back for more abuse, as you will see that this game is wildly addicting. I have found myself playing for 30 to 40 minutes at a time when just looking to cure a few minutes of boredom. A great game while waiting at the doctor’s office, or airport. Be warned, this game is so addicting and frustrating it should be called “Angry People” instead of “Angry Birds”.

 

Market Rating: 4.5/5

My Rating: 5/5