The early scores are in: Comparing sports apps on the iPhone and Droid

For sports fans, having access to information at any time from any place is crucial. Whether it’s tracking players on your fantasy football team or checking up on scores from around the league, this information is a tap (or click) away with many new smart-phone apps.

While the iPhone is the clear heavyweight champion in the mobile apps category, with more than 100,000 available in the iTunes App Store, the introduction of the Motorola Droid on Google’s Android platform is bringing some parity to the competition with approximately 12,00 apps available. Even the BlackBerry has some compelling options available among its hundreds of apps. 

Here are the best sports apps available on these major mobile platforms, with no clear winner yet in site. 

ESPN gets in the game

ESPN is a classic and trusted resource for all things sports. Bringing ESPN to your mobile device brings that brand to your pocket, no matter what smart phone you have. 

The iPhone has a wider range of ESPN-created apps, with the most inclusive being ScoreCenter.  This free app gives you scores and game details across several major sports, including the NFL, MLB, NBA and the English Premier League (for soccer fans). Follow specific teams to track the ones that matter the most. With a comprehensive and easy-to-navigate interface, the iPhone’s ESPN ScoreCenter app is sleek and authoritative. 

Droid’s ESPN apps are more niche, with some specific to a single sport and others dedicated to all sports news. The Top Sports News Widget from MGeek combines the most sports-related information into a single app.  Also free, the Top Sports News Widget requires the widget to be installed on your phone’s home screen.  This minimizes the need to run multiple apps on your phone and makes the sports headlines more accessible, emphasizing Droid’s “desktop” interface.  The downside is that it is not as easy to navigate or customize, and the focus is on news instead of scores and stats.

BlackBerry also has an ESPN app, which offers quick access to a variety of scores, news and updates for fantasy sports games.

Yahoo! Sports on iPhone and BlackBerry

Yahoo! has also made its fantasy football app available on two of the three platforms for now: the iPhone and the BlackBerry.  As a primary destination site for many Fantasy Football players, one great advantage to Yahoo!’s mobile apps is the ability to manage your fantasy teams on the go.  This is in addition to having access to major sports headlines through Yahoo! News channels.

The Yahoo! app currently available on Droid is created through a third-party developer, and has a specific app dedicated to the Yahoo! News sports channel. Filter by current headlines, scores and all sports. 

Keep an eye on these CBS Sports Apps

CBS also has an up-to-minute applications across all three of these compared mobile platforms. Called CBS Sports Mobile, CBS Sports Pro Football or Sports Bookmark, the app is available on the iPhone, the Blackberry and the Droid.

CBS was quick to provide its information directly to the mobile devices of its consumers.  Taking the initiative to proactively create apps across the board, accessibility to its consumers is an important aspect of CBS’ strategy.

The three apps all provide very similar services, all for free.  The iPhone has the advantage of three CBS Sports-related apps, with a College Football and Basketball app featuring live streams and score updates, and another NFL-specific app, there are two niche options for CBS’ iPhone apps.  There is also a general sports app, rounding out the trio.

Both the Blackberry and Droid devices have only a single CBS Sports-related app available on their platforms. Droid has a Pro Football app while the Blackberry has an all-inclusive app.

Best of the rest

Plusmo has been an established mobile sports services company, and has apps created for the iPhone, Droid and Blackberry. Plusmo has a series of channel widgets available for each of these platforms, taking an a la carte approach to providing news. Most are sports-specific, such as the NBA, NFL and MLB.  Pick and choose which you would like and install them on your home screen.

If you are a golf fan, there is a wide array of apps available on the iPhone and the Blackberry.  The Golf Channel is one of the more recognized and reliable resources that makes its content available for free on both the iPhone and the Blackberry.

The Droid, on the other hand, does not have any other golf-specific news resource other than Plusmo. This gap in Droid’s platform actually highlights Plusmo’s penetration in the mobile app industry.  Consider this a platform-atop-a-platform method of becoming an industry leader.

Parting shots

Droid has Scoreboard, which is Google-specific and exclusive to the Android platform. This is likely due to the fact that Google has a vested interest in its Android platform.  It is similar to the way in which BlackBerry also has its own application specific to its platform, though this does not seem to be a concern for Apple.

The iPhone still has the lion’s share of the market when it comes to the variety of its platform’s apps. The BlackBerry interface still limits its devices in terms of an app’s ability to utilize its features, and the Droid platform is still new to the scene.  The good thing about sports apps is that they have a very wide appeal and there will be a great variety of them on each platform.  

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