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New Olympic sport: screen juggling

July 19, 2012|By Michelle Maltais
  • The Olympic rings are displayed outside the basketball arena in the Olympic Park before the start of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Apps can help you enjoy the Games anywhere in the world.
The Olympic rings are displayed outside the basketball arena in the Olympic… (Jae Hong / Associated Press )

With the advent of tablets and growing ubiquity of smartphones, a new Olympic sport has emerged: screen juggling.

And men probably will take the gold in that competition, as they are more likely than woman to follow the Olympic Games on three or more devices, according to a new poll.

It seems that 40% of those who plan to follow the Summer Olympics starting next week will do it on two or more devices, according to a recent Harris Interactive poll.

Instead of channel surfing, 14% of U.S. adults surveyed said they planned to follow the Games by screen shifting among three or more devices -- that's more devices than hands to hold them.

In the battle between the smaller screens, the results also show that 35% of American adults will tune in to their tablets for news of the Games from London while 27% plan to go to their smartphones.

"This survey reveals that a significant number of Americans are choosing to consume Olympic content on the go, and while doing so they’re overwhelmingly turning to mobile browsers,” said Krishna Subramanian, chief marketing officer of Velti, which commissioned the poll.

Although there are oodles of apps, mobile browsers seem to be more appealing, according to the poll. Of the smartphone crowd, 77% polled saying they'd prefer to launch a browser and 63% will use apps for updates. On tablets, a whopping 80% said they'd use browsers and 58% would use apps. (Clearly, there's a bit of overlap in the numbers, with some planning to use both browsers and apps.)

This is the first year that all of the 32 sports will be streamed live. And 45% of tablet viewers and 41% of smartphone users will be tuning in to watch live. Slightly more said they'd catch the action on the replay and through video clips.

The screen juggling won't be limited to the ones you can hold in your hands, the survey found. Some people plan to go old school and include watching on TV. In a combination of bigger screens, 36% plan to watch on TV and a computer, 11% on a TV and a smartphone, and 10% on a computer and a smartphone.

Being able to watch on all of these screens makes it easier to play armchair Olympic judge, particularly with the time difference between London and the U.S.

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