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Forgive me if this sounds a bit gushing, but as a long-time sucker for Apple's temptations, I have been waiting for this one with childlike anticipation. And now that it is on my phone, I can say, hand on heart, that ESPNcricinfo's iPhone app is a thing of beauty. And before anyone accuses me of being an Apple evangelist, let me add that this app is also available on the Android platform.
Shrinking a huge site like ours to fit a mobile device was a challenge. "It's a bit like building a scale model of a luxury car," says Anil Nair, our director of Wireless Services. "The only difference is, you need to be able to drive it."
Anil and his team have done quite a job of it. We have had a fairly handy mobile-optimised site for a couple of years now, but I have always preferred to use the full site, even on my phone, which can be a struggle at lower bandwidths. I can happily switch over to the iPhone app now: it gives richness and depth at a good speed.
Like all good iPhone apps, ours is simple and intuitive. The home screen offers quick access to news, scores and results, and to our lead writers. And the full menu offers a lot more, including video and audio, the full magazine section, and records. I was curious about how they'd fit cricket records tables, which often run into several columns, on a phone screen. They have found a simple solution: the columns are stacked up vertically, as against the traditional across-the-page display.
Perhaps the niftiest thing about the app is the lean-back mode, which gives you the option of turning your home screen into a digital clock-like display, with scores ticking away instead of time. There are push notification options for instant alerts for wickets, batsman milestones and score updates during live matches. You also have the ability to customise and filter news, results and fixtures by the team of your choice.
Almost without our noticing it, nearly 25% of the traffic on ESPNcricinfo is now through mobile devices and the smartphone market is growing rapidly. This app is affirmation of our commitment to bring cricket to you in the best-possible manner on each of your preferred platforms.
Like many of the really good things in life, the app is free.
You can download the app here.
PS: A lot of you have enquired about the Android app. It has been launched and can be found here.
Sambit Bal is the editor of ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Sambit Bal
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Editor-in-chief Sambit Bal took to journalism at the age of 19 after realising that he wasn't fit for anything else, and to cricket journalism 14 years later when it dawned on him that it provided the perfect excuse to watch cricket in the office. Among other things he has bowled legspin, occasionally landing the ball in front of the batsman; laid out the comics page of a newspaper; covered crime, urban development and politics; and edited Gentleman, a monthly features magazine. He joined Wisden in 2001 and edited Wisden Asia Cricket and Cricinfo Magazine. He still spends his spare time watching cricket.