Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sports Cards Hobby New Frontier - Mobile Apps

How do I find the closest public restroom?
There's a mobile phone application to find the answer.

What's the latest movie review?
There's a mobile app for that too.

What's the latest Upper Deck product review?
There isn't an app for that answer. You need to go home, start your PC, go on the web and search your favorite blogs to see if they've reviewed it yet.

Where are the sports cards mobile applications?
How would you like to use your iPhone, iPod Touch, or Blackberry to:
- View product release details
- Read message boards
- Check out the blogs
- Review card values
- Make card trades
- Chat with hobby leaders and friends?

I think this is the next step in our sports card and memorabilia hobby. Yes, you can do all of those now without a smart phone application if your have a mobile browser on the phone. However a mobile app notifies you when there is a new message board thread, trade proposed to you, new blog post and new product review all within a single application. You can view it all without having to navigate your mobile web browser.

I started thinking about this after reading an announcement by Blogging the Boys. They created an app for readers of their blog to see FanPosts, pictures, stories, etc. This particular application is $1.99 from the iPhone app store. Most mobile apps are free or cost less than $5. Check out the screen caps from their app.

Imagine if you're at a card show or store and see the latest retro product by Topps, but can't remember what people were saying on your favorite message board. You could launch the app, and search within it to see what hobby leaders are saying and what price you can expect to pay.

Who Will be First?
Right now, it looks like the Freedom Card Board could be the first to launch a mobile application. FCB confirmed with me via Twitter they are targeting a launch for their app by the end of 2009! Tracy Hackler and Chris Olds at Beckett Media said a mobile app was an idea being discussed, but a target date had not been confirmed. Tracy suggested they could have one in 2010. Don at the Sports Card Forum said they do not yet have a mobile phone application project started.

I think this is the next logical step for hobby. Perhaps we'll hear some product announcements and demos at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore next summer.

Would you pay $1.99 for an application like this?