Monday, 8 November 2010

Mobile Fencing (with Google Android)

From: Jordan Ratcliffe (Team Manager)

I recently got a phone that uses Google Android (it's an LG Optimus GT540). It's a good phone, but more interestingly there are a lot of apps available to run on Android, so I thought I'd have a look for some fencing-related apps. I went to Android Market on my phone and searched for fencing. Two apps caught my eye: Fencing ScoreKeeper and Riposte. So I downloaded them and gave them a try. Here are my findings and recommendations.

Fencing ScoreKeeper
It’s nicely presented with a small logo of a sword on your desktop and is free to boot so no worries about wasting your money.

When you initially load it up it will bombard you with an ad for the full version with extra features and afterwards it will be equally irritating for your eyes because of the large bright green digital numbers and a painter's pallet of penalty card buttons.

It’s nice and easy to use, with no instructions needed and gives you all the information you need in that soothing shade of fluorescent green. Some of the buttons do seem a little small but are remarkably easy to use. Unfortunately however, the score only goes up to five without paying $3 for an upgrade which is just a hassle.

You can read more about Fencing ScoreKeeper on the authors' web site (42solutions).

Overall it does everything you need, it’s just a bit in-your-face sometimes and doesn’t allow you to do direct elimination fights although you could do some improvisation, again its just a hassle.

Like Scorekeeper, Riposte has a nifty, stylish logo and comes free.

Although when you load it up it also gives you a message, it gives some instructions on how to use it instead which is helpful because this app is a little more complicated.

Again, it is actually quite simple to use although you do need to read the message to know how to lower the score (press and hold the fencer’s score you want to lower), determine priority and start a new bout. The display has a black background which is a bit boring but definitely an improvement and the features have ample room and clear font which is easy on the eyes. To get to some features you need to press the options menu button on your phone (on my phone it looks a bit like a square) to open a menu which lets you start a new round and also has a settings page which lets you change sounds, vibrations etc. Sadly you can’t change the period and like Scorekeeper the score only goes up to 5. Unfortunately, there isn't an upgrade to up the score.

The Outcasts
I did try some other apps such as Masque Mobile and Arbitroid but didn't like any of them for the following reasons. Fencing Score and Masque Mobile both had to be paid for which is understandable (everyone has to make money) but simply can't compare to an app that is free! Although Arbitroid was free I just didn't like the layout and found it a little clunky and difficult.

The Case of the Disappearing App
I have heard reports that Riposte is no longer on the Android marketplace but I have checked and it is, so you can put down your binoculars.

Overall, Riposte is very easy to understand, has more features and is quite attractive and so definitely gets my recommendation.

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