The metronomic to and fro, the intermittent inclemency, the strawberries and cream, the arresting grunts of the Williams sisters (among others) yes, Wimbledon 2011 is well and truly upon us.
Short of keeping a couple of tabs open on your browser, we’ve rounded up some of the best apps and ways to keep track of the action from your phone, along with a couple of run tennis games if you need something to occupy your thumbs between sets.
Obviously the first port of call for any serious Wimbledon devotee will be a news app. As well as relying on Google News and keeping a page open on BBC Sport in your phone’s browser, you might want to consider the following news apps as well.
Wimbledon (iPhone and iPad) – this is the Official™ Wimbledon 2011 app which we’ve featured already. It features a great, crisp design and is packed with acres of content – the full schedule, news that refreshes/updates every 30 seconds, on-demand videos, radio stations and short bios on all of the players.
Sports Eye – Tennis (Android) – though not quite as slick-looking at the official Wimbledon app, Sports Eye – Tennis provides similar functionality. You get a schedule, scores and draws and the ability to define what news stories the app searches for. Sports Eye – Tennis actively searches for news and blog posts and pushes notifcations to the taskbar as soon as it finds something new.
There’s a free version (ad-supported) and a paid for edition too, discounted to 62p for the duration of Wimbledon 2011.
Sports Illustrated (BlackBerry) – Sports Illustrated’s free app for BlackBerry phones allows you to keep track of schedules, scores and breaking news stories for Wimbledon 2011 and a whole range of other sports including golf, cycling, boxing, NHL, NFL and NBA (it’s a US-based publication) – luckily you can customise news feeds so that you only get Wimbledon-related stories pushed through.
All Sports News (Windows Phone 7) – like the Sports Illustrated app, All Sports News gives you the rundown on a whole range of sports including basketball, golf, American football and crucially, tennis. Wimbledon coverage extends to full tournament results as well as a news feed populated by breaking stories. Best of all, it’s free.
BBC iPlayer – (iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry) – this’ll give you access to catch-up coverage on the go (only over Wi-Fi) and a no brainer if you can’t get anywhere near a TV/you’re at work and you want a quick peek at match highlights.
Those there’s no iPhone app per se, you can of course access iPlayer through the Safari browser. iPad, Android phone and BlackBerry owners however can make use of the dedicated apps for their phones.
TVCatchup.com – as well as iPlayer, there’s TVCatchup.com. While only iPhone and iPad-optimised versions of this streaming service have been released, try pointing your phone’s browser at m.tvcatchup.com; we’ve got it working on various Android phones and a BlackBerry Curve 9300. Quality varies, with some phones working better on the ‘HQ’ stream and other working best on the ‘LQ’ channel. Wi-Fi is needed in all cases.
TVCatchup forum user Stevedhalai has posted a comprehensive listed of supported Android devices here.
Another option for Android users is to simply access the full www.tvcatchup.com website. The video content runs on Flash Player, so if you’re running on Android 2.2+ and your phone can handle Flash, give this a try.
Sadly, we couldn’t get TVCatchup to work in any capacity on our Samsung Omnia 7 – the TVCatchup guys say that they might be working on bringing the service to WP7 soon.
Of course, as soon as Adobe and Microsoft can work out how to bring Flash to WP7, you should be able to access the full site through the browser. Chances are Wimbledon 2011 will be done and dusted by then. In the meantime however…
SlingPlayer Mobile (iPhone, iPad, Android, WP7, BlackBerry, Palm, Symbian) – The other, (slightly more involved option) is of course to invest in a Slingbox, hook it up to your TV set at home, configure your PC and install the relevant app on your phone. This will then allow you to tune in to your TV at home whenever a game is being broadcast live.
There are SlingPlayer Mobile apps for every major phone platform out there, so whatever phone you’ve got, chances are you’ll be able to watch live Wimbledon action on the go.
Check out our in-depth review/hands-on with the SlingPlayer Android app; the set up and install procedure for the Slingbox is more or less the same regardless of which phone you’ve got.
Fun and games
When the day’s tennis is over but you still need to get your Wimbledon fix, have a look at some of these games.
Hit Tennis 2 and Chop Chop Tennis are the most fun tennis games that we’ve seen on the iPhone, both being easy to pick up, boasting simple fun physics and colourful cartoony graphics.
Hit Tennis 2 features a multiplayer mode (pictured) that allows you to play co-op with someone else in the room, and ideally is best played on the iPad – we tried playing it on our iPhone and it was a little, well, cramped.
Chop Chop Tennis allows you to play against people online; either via friends you can invite via Game Centre or random opponents.
There’s also an HD version available that’s optimised for the iPad’s bigger screen.
Super Tennis G&W for Android phones (pictured) is a simple tennis game for Android phones that’s done in the style of Nintendo’s Game & Watch classics of old. It’s a bit basic as you’d expect, but a fun retro game nontheless.
Tennis Smash Out for BlackBerry phones is another addictive cartoony game. The movement of your character is automatic; you utilise the number keys of your BlackBerry’s Qwerty to aim shots instead of touchscreen swipes.