MLB uses World Series to warm up Android app
The first non-iPhone MLB mobile app will debut for free starting tonight in beta form.
Alex Rodriguez won't be the only big baseball name making its World Series debut Wednesday night.
When the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies take the field for the first game of the World Series, Major League Baseball will also introduce its popular At Bat mobile application for Android phones.
Previously, the application can be downloaded from MLB.com's mobile site but not the Android Marketplace, since the league is still testing the app in advance of next season. For that reason, the Android version will be free.
At Bat for Android delivers live scoreboards, box scores, and pitch-by-pitch or play-by-play updates, along with updated video highlight reels. The big difference between the free beta Android version the full paid version now for iPhone is that there's no option for live streaming video. There will, however, be live streaming audio for the remainder of the baseball postseason.
MLB says for now it's testing the waters, and it doesn't mean there will definitely be an Android app for next season.
"We were intrigued by the adoption of Android and the recent announcements by carriers releasing devices in the coming weeks and months, and we wanted to take this opportunity during World Series" to test it out, said Adam Ritter, vice president of wireless at MLB Advanced Media. "The beta Android app will give us the feedback we need from a product and technical perspective to see what's possible for next season."
It's been a big day for Android, Google's free Linux-based mobile operating system, and MLB's embrace of the OS shows its technology savvy. While iPhone and iPod Touch, Android is also gaining momentum, as seen with Wednesday's series. There are at least 10 Android phones available now or within the next week, and at least 10 more rumored models on the way for the holidays or next year.
MLB At Bat 2009 and MLB At Bat Lite (the free version) is currently on 1.2 million devices, according to MLB.
Going to be away from your TV and don't have an iPhone or Android phone? Check out a handful of other ways to keep track of every pitch of the series.
More screenshots of the app after the jump.
This post was updated at 3:15 p.m. PDT with comment from MLB.