Whether you’re an amateur athlete or an armchair jockey, an all-season sports fanatic or an occasional onlooker, the whole world’s got Olympic fever. No doubt, fans are already glued to their tubes, laptops or smartphones, keeping a close watch on their home country or their favourite events. But for those who want to enhance their viewing experience or find a new way to root for the home team, these are the gadgets that made it to the Tech Gear podium.
Social media addicts (such as yours truly) can get what feels like all the Olympic updates they could ever want just by scrolling through their Twitter feed. But if you want to be a little more organized about things, the head honchos behind the Games have released an official results app for Android, iOS, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7. You can find news and updates, a calendar of events, medal rankings and athlete profiles all in one place. You can even "follow" specific countries to tailor your results. Download your preferred platform at london2012.com.
There’s plenty of flag-plastered gear out there, but Proporta’s phone cases have a gentle "aged" effect that makes the national-pride look a little more refined. In case you’re not pulling for Team Canada, there’s a range of countries up for grabs, from Russia to Brazil. They’re $34.99 each at the Apple Store or store.apple.com/ca.
Acer is one of the 2012 Games’ sponsors, and they’re capitalizing on that marketing power with a special Olympic-issue tablet. The 10.1-inch Aconia A510, which runs off Android’s most recent operating system, Ice Cream Sandwich, earned props from tech experts for its solid performance and strong battery life (12 hours) coupled with a relatively low price tag. The so-called "official tablet of the Olympics" is available at Future Shop for $399.99. (The Olympic-branded version, we should stipulate, is tougher to find in North America, but Amazon.com currently has it on offer for the same price.)
Fellow sponsor Samsung’s also releasing a Games-themed gizmo: The Samsung Series S3 is getting a special Union Jack-themed skin for Samsung’s U.K. retailers. Canadians may not be able to get their mitts on that regional exclusive, but there’s plenty of Android goodness to be had on this side of the pond: The standard-issue silver or blue S3 still boasts a 4.8-inch, 720p HD screen, dual-core processing and an 8MP camera. It’s available through Bell, Telus or Rogers for $159.99 with a three-year contract, or $599 to $649 without a contract.
Games merch might be flying off the shelves now, but an awful lot of Olympic odds-and-ends tend to fall by the wayside after today’s races become yesterday’s news. Monster’s Inspiration headphones might be a perfect solution for those who want to put their merchandise budget into a long-term investment. One of the partners behind Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, Monster has split from Beats for its first solo release, a sightly bulky set of noise-cancelling cans designed to create a warmer, mid-heavy tone instead of Beats by Dre’s emphasis on treble and bass. Monster has also released a slew of magnetic "headband" add-ons used to decorate the strap; if you don’t want to be sporting a flag on your head in perpetuity, you can ditch the strip, or pick up a new leather one in a variety of chic colours. The headphones are available in black or silver for $299, while a headband sells for $24.99 at The Source stores or thesource.ca.