Sports Republic full review
Albert Camus once said: "One sentence will suffice to describe modern man: he fornicated and he read newspapers." The former Algerian goalkeeper would have probably added a second sentence to describe modern sports-fan: 'he also drank beer, and obsessively read about sport. (Wearing a replica kit, for some reason.)' Well, imaginary future Camus, you are correct: we are obsessed with consuming news about sport, and Sports Republic - an app for Android phones and Android tablets from the makers of News Republic - serves that need.
Sports Republic is a sport news app that gathers stories about every major sport from across the world wide web. And don't be put off by the US-style 'S' appended to the word 'sport' - Sports Republic has dedicated regional editions for the UK, Germany, Italy, France and Spain, plus international and Latin America versions. By 'eck lad, the UK version even includes information about Rugby League, albeit crammed into the generic 'Rugby' section (but we can get along now we're all professionals, right?). See also: Best Android Apps
It's worth pointing out that, like News Republic, Sports Republic is an aggragator of news from other sources. Or, in its own words: "Sports Republic explores and organises hundreds of articles from a select collection of sources including major news agencies, websites and national and international specialized sports blogs." So you can find this stuff elsewhere, and the principal benefit of Sports Republic is that it is a slick and simple way of finding news about all sports.
You get the full articles, complete with any accompanying photos. Sports covered include football, rugby (both codes), tennis, motorsport, boxing, cricket, golf and athletics. Special attention is paid to the Olympics, Premiership Football, 6 Nations Rugby, the Ashes, Euro 2012, and other seasonal major events.
Sports Republic: navigation and style
Straight off the bat/out of the gate (select your own sporting analogy) the navigation in Sports Republic looks great, on both smartphones and tablets. It is also intuitive to use as designed, and fully customisable if you want to tweak the home page. You can create your own channels and follow only sports that are of particular interest to you - important with an app that contains so many stories. Truly, all the sporting world is here.
Alternatively, there is a social element to Sports Republic which allows you to find content in a more human way. You can add a 'mood' to any story you read, and then find stories by the 'mood' associated with them (I support Leeds Utd, Yorkshire Cricket and Bradford Bulls. My mood is pretty constant).
There's also what Sports Republic describes as the 'TagNav' explorer: it's what it sounds like - people tag content, and you can find it via those tags. As with all of Sports Republic's navigation, it works well. You can spend as much time as you want reading about as many sports as you would like. Stories themselves don't look particularly interesting, however, which is the curse of the aggragator. Sharing options are plentiful, and from any story you can share via email, Twitter or Facebook using the now familiar 'ShareThis' icons at the bottom of each story (look down reader, there they are).
Currently the app is going big on Euro 2012, and Sports Republic promises big things for the upcoming London Olympics. It's also got pretty good coverage of lower league football - much better than ESPN Soccernet, for instance. But like all sport coverage, what constitutes news is sometimes a little thin. Also - and this is an issue with the sources rather than the app itself - every minor player or athlete is a 'star', and words such as 'tragedy' are used with all too much familiarity. Sports Republic takes content from sources that take sports seriously. Very seriously.
And that, ultimately, is the weakness of Sports Republic. The sheer volume of stories about sport left me feeling a little queesy. So much is written about so many sports, that it feels like too much to take in. And the lack of a regular theme or style simply adds to the feeling of it all being a bit much. That, however, is a personal reaction, and if you want an app that will scour the world for sports news big and small, then present it in an easily navigable format, Sports Republic is a good choice.
Keith Senior: former Sheffield and Leeds centre, and a top, top fan of existentialism
Sports Republic: Specs
- REQUIRES ANDROID: 1.5 and up