Detroit Free Press Android app a must for Motor City sports fans

by Caitlin M. Foyt

The Detroit Free Press app for the Android platform has all of the content users need to keep up with the happenings in and around Detroit, Mich. It's essentially the newspaper's entire web site, effectively organized onto your smartphone.

The Detroit Free Press app has content variety that is comparable to what you might find on the New York Times for Android phone application. Launch the app, and you'll see that you have access to the latest breaking news headlines, entertainment news from Detroit, recently published columns, weather and traffic information and everything sports.

The app description boasts that this is a must-have for Detroit sports fans – and I have to agree. There's everything from game scores to personality profiles about all of the teams: the Lions, Red Wings, Pistons, Tigers and the University of Michigan Wolverines and Michigan State Spartans.

To browse content, users must utilize the horizontal scroll option that's positioned across the top of the app. Flick your thumb from either left or right and you can spin through all of the different categories: Videos, Columnists, Weather, Latest News, Sports, Traffic or Opinion. When you click on a category, either related stories or sub-categories will appear beneath. I found this design to be a refreshing change of pace from the standard news app layout. It's also pretty innovative, as it makes navigating through tons and tons of content a piece of cake.

One especially neat feature is that this app incorporates a citizen journalism-esque kind of aspect to the experience. Users can upload their own photos and videos, and even check out photos that other readers have submitted.

The Detroit Free Press isn't exactly small, but it isn't quite as large as publications like the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, which have their own apps. Because it's one of the few "local papers" that has an Android presence, I feel compelled to point out that it is still an app that people across the country could make use of. Because the weather is programmed based on phone GPS, I was able to get the 60-something-degree weather in my own area, here in Los Angeles, rather than the details of the single-digit snowy weather back in Detroit. I also had immediate access to real-time traffic information for freeways in L.A. If you're a Detroit native, like myself, who still cares about what's happening in the motherland, it's a free download you can't refuse.

But, the app also has its glitches. As much as I enjoy the app's sideways scroll, I noticed that it was a little touchy. It's easy for the app to perceive that you are selecting tabs, when really you are just fingering your way through the listed categories.

Another bummer is the fact that the app is still extremely buggy. I received a bunch of "Error" and "Sorry! Not responding" messages. The app also froze a few times, and I had to force close the entire program. I hope a few more updates will smooth these issues out, as I found that when the app did work, it actually worked very well.