Best Android Sports Apps Widgets - A Battle of the Heavyweights
Image via WikipediaWith football season fast approaching and baseball season long over (I'm a Cubs fan), it's time to take a closer look at what sports widget will occupy valuable real estate on my Droid X this fall. Again, this is a discussion of the best widget, which effectively rules out a few strong contenders (namely, LiveScores, currently without a widget as of this post). Read on to see who's in it to win it.
Duh-duh-Duh, Duh-duh-Duh - This is ScoreCenter.
This is certainly the brand name powerhouse of the bunch. ESPN's widget has a nice look (1 row), and can synchronize with your existing ESPN account (not required). Clicking on the score takes you to the game's page on ESPN's ScoreCenter app. An up/down arrow on the left lets you toggle through your favorite teams. Data includes time of next game and a future game, along with records of both teams. I was impressed with the speed of the connection, and the updates seemed fairly frequent. Customization seems limited as I was unable to figure out how I could change frequency updates or set up alerts for my teams.
The Rising Star - SportsTap
I remember SportsTap as one of the earliest sports apps on the market with the iPhone. It was nice to see them with a presence on Android as well. The SportsTap widget was very easy to setup - simply click on the teams that you want to follow. You also have access to preferences, which include alert frequency, network settings, and alerts. The alerts feature is very cool in that you can receive notifications when your team has started or finished a game, or even if there has been a score change. Appearance-wise, I found the widget to be a bit small (also 1 row) as the font size was noticeably tinier than ESPN's. On the widget, you can tap on the left to change leagues, and tap on the right to scroll through 10 days of scores/schedule (a nice feature).
The Dark Horse - ScoreMobile
This is the only 2-row widget of the bunch, and although they probably could have made better use of the extra real estate, ScoreMobile's widget is very well designed and easy on the eyes. You have icons for your five favorite sports (similar to SportsTap, you can quickly customize your teams and leagues through settings) under a rotating scoreboard ticker (a nice feature). Tapping on the left takes you to the league scoreboard which features your favorite teams highlighted and at the top. Tapping on the score takes you to a recap/stats page, and you can scroll more quickly by tapping on the right. Similar to SportsTap, you can configure your settings for refresh rates on both the widget and the ticker specifically.
If it's Google, it's gotta be good, right? - Google Scoreboard
It was with mixed feelings that I downloaded and installed Google's Scoreboard widget. On one hand, I saw a very low rating on the Market as well as numerous negative reviews at the top. On the other hand, I said to myself, "How bad could it be?" Setup of the widget was simple, as it allows you to choose your teams and leagues with ease. Tapping on the left changes sports, tapping on the right lets you scroll between teams. Tapping on the game takes you to your favorites screen, so you are more than two taps away from obtaining any real information about the game of interest. Similar to SportsTap, Scoreboard offers you notifications on your teams at various intervals. Unfortunately, I'd say that Google's widget is certainly the least attractive of the bunch as the font size is small and the design is rather dull.
Since I already had an account on ESPN, my first instinct would be to go with the tried and true. However, I am intrigued by the additional features and the greater degree of customization allowed for in all of the other widgets. Specifically, I liked SportsTap and Google for their notifications feature, and ScoreMobile for the larger widget, including the rotating ticker. In the end, it will come down to your personal preferences for appearance, customization, features, and reliability. In limited, non-scientific testing, ESPN seemed to update a tad quicker, followed by SportsTap, ScoreMobile and then Google. Just make sure you make your decision in time for Week 1 Kickoff!
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