Since I was a young boy Formula 1 racing was a big part of my weekends. Who could ever forget the epic battles of Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill? With the release of the new F1 time app (also available for the PlayBook) I decided to do a review but unfortunately with BBW and BBjam10 on full swing I couldn’t find the time. Lucky for us all our good friend and N4BB community member Urbanglowcam stepped up to the plate and did a review for us. Enjoy and feel free to comment!
Since 2010, Soft Pauer Limited, a small company based out of the UK was given the rights to develop the Official Formula 1 Timing App. It was initially released for the iOS platform. Later it was released for Android. As you might have guessed, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7 have been left out of the fun. BlackBerry has had timing apps that functioned fairly well. However, for the 2012 F1 season, Soft Pauer has generously released their Official F1 2012 Timing App in BlackBerry App World for a hefty $19.99.
Being built on an old Java platform, one would imagine that the BlackBerry version of the app could not match the rich features of the more modern Android or iOS counterparts. While this holds true, it holds its own in several ways. Fortunately, Soft Pauer saw the value in releasing a BlackBerry app despite the recent growth in the Windows Marketplace. It’s most likely due to the demand internationally with Formula 1 being so prevalent. BlackBerry still has a strong presence throughout the world, even as they transition to BlackBerry 10. Now to the app..
Once it’s downloaded and started, it will begin to automatically download updates to the app. After the updates, you will be presented with the main live leaderboard. The track location will be automatically selected using your data service and detect which practice, qualifying, or race session is currently going on. You will typically be given an alert to say when the next session will occur or which is currently taking place. Information like driver position, tyre, lap time, gaps, and sector times are presented in real time and pulled from the official F1 data center. There is a ticker at the bottom with up to date highlights as well as a race timer and lap indicator.
If there is not a current session, the app will go into demo mode where the app runs as a simulated occurrence of a race in every regard. Race packs can be downloaded to view the desired race session after they are completed.
Navigating to different areas of the app for more information just takes a press of the BlackBerry key and selecting the desired section. This includes full timing, map, info, news, and setup. The full timing goes more into depth for each driver currently with specific gap times, sector timing, pit stop count, and laps completed.
The map menu shows a birds-eye visual of the current track location while each driver zooms around the track in real time with their locations accurately represented. You can highlight whichever driver you choose and the view will follow them on the track. There is also a pinch-zoom capability which allows you to see more of the track or get in closer to the driver. Unfortunately, this is where the BlackBerry version is lacking. The Android/iOS versions are shown in full 3D and can be rotated beautifully in real time. There is also a live pause and replay feature. Still, the BlackBerry app gives the general information, only without the bells and whistles.
The next menu is the info section. Initially, it will prompt you to download the info pack. You will be taken to a sub-menu with latest results, standings, drivers, teams, and races. Upon clicking each, you will be given more detailed information for that section.
The news section will briefly list the latest information popping up from the world of F1. There are two tabs here. One is for the news articles and the other includes live feed messages for when they are available from the race sessions.
Lastly, there is the options menu. Here you can choose which 2012 track to view at any given time. The session can then be selected. Here you can toggle between practice 1-3, qualifying, or the race of the race track that was chosen. The start time is given to you after. The other options relate to the map section where you can choose to hide stopped cars and/or fade cars. Finally, you can clear your local store to clean up the apps downloaded components if necessary.
All in all, if you are a big F1 junky, this app is a great companion for the season. It gives fans information quickly without having to browse the internet for it. It can also be useful during races when your favorite broadcast might be on a commercial break. Extensive, live information can be difficult to get while viewing the race during the live broadcast. It will be difficult to get specific lap records and sector times any other way. There have been times when the app has failed to receive information from the server, but with the app being fairly new, I’m sure updates will come to fix these annoyances. Soft Pauer Limited is a group of developers that listens fairly well. I have personally received feedback and insight into their project. I suggest anyone to contact them through Facebook, Twitter, or their e-mail with any feedback. Their information can be found at http://www.softpauer.com/f1site/.
At the price of $20, it is hard to recommend it for just anybody. But if you’re the type that needs a constant feed of Formula 1 data, and are still on the BlackBerry train this is the app for you. Hopefully, they Soft Pauer Limited will develop a BlackBerry PlayBook app with even better features.
Additional reporting from Cameron Hirbodi