NBA Breaks Open Android Market With Game Time App

By Carolyn Braff

Since T-Mobile launched the G1 phone — the Google phone — last fall, applications for it have not been able to keep up with apps for the iPhone. This week, however, the NBA is breaking that barrier by offering sports fans the first major-league-developed application in the Android Market. The NBA’s Game Time mobile application is now available for download from both the Android Market, for users of the T-Mobile G1 phone, and the iPhone App Store, for iPhone users.

“We saw the need across the G1 platform, since not a whole lot is being done there, and we wanted to get out there first,” says Kimberly James, director of wireless operations for NBA Digital. “We saw that we could leverage the Game Time platform across smart applications, and we wanted to see what we could do to leverage the same development we did for the iPhone across the G1.”

Game Time includes live game scores, stats, standings, and national and local TV schedules. A free upgrade will give users NBA playoff brackets as the postseason nears. The free application, which looks mostly the same on both devices, is available throughout the 2009 playoffs.

“We wanted the application to be the Game Time application no matter what device you’re on, so we kept the look and feel almost identical,” James explains. “Of course, we leveraged the features of the G1 platform, since it is a different device, so some of the functionality is a little bit different.”

Specifically, the scheduling feature on the G1 has a calendar-type look and feel, while the iPhone schedule is more a scroll.

NBA Digital spent two months developing the Game Time application for both iPhone and the G1, in the hopes of reaching as many fans as possible.

“People will probably look to build on the iPhone first, just because it has a massive reach,” Jones says. “With the G1, you need a little bit more flexibility from Google to give you some feedback on how that phone really works, being that it has the GPS capabilities. I think you’ll see more and more applications coming out on the G1 shortly. It’s still new so people are testing it out.”

Both the G1 and iPhone applications went live in the Android Market and iPhone App Store, respectively, on Monday April 6.

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