Tech review: Apps for the hockey season

The National Hockey League season begins Tuesday, Oct. The National Hockey League season begins Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013, and for fans who skate and those who don't there are apps galore to take on the season. Photo Credit: Newsday, 2001 / Tony Jerome

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Will the Islanders hoist the Stanley Cup one more time at Nassau Coliseum before they move to Brooklyn? Will the Rangers return to the Cup Finals for the first time in 20 years? The National Hockey League season begins Tuesday, and both local teams have reasons for optimism. These apps will keep hockey fans entertained from this week's opening faceoff through June, when the next NHL champions drink from the Cup.

NHL GameCenter (iOS, Android; free)

The official app from the National Hockey League has news, player profiles and schedules for every team. During games the app not only updates scores but gives line changes for each team. After each game users can watch postgame videos. Verizon Wireless customers get free access to premium features such as live streaming of NBC's national games.

NHL Hardest Shot (iOS, Android; $1.99)

This innovative app is aimed not at hockey watchers but at hockey players, even young ones with a makeshift goal in their driveway. The app uses sound technology to determine the speed of a shot. The instructions are a bit sketchy, and many users have complained they can't get it to work, but our tester finally got some results after numerous attempts. Big tip: Keep the phone out of the line of fire during tests.

The Hockey News (iOS, Android; free)

The venerable publication offers a slimmed-down version of its weekly newspaper along with real-time scores and game updates. While the app doesn't have the high-tech bells and whistles of the official NHL app, the stories and analysis from the newspaper's reporters make it a must-have for hockey fans. Content is sometimes slow to load on some Android devices, an issue the developers said they are working to fix.

AHL (iOS, Android; free)

Yes, the Islanders and the Rangers have a heated intrastate rivalry.

But so do their minor-league affiliates.

The Islanders' Bridgeport Sound Tigers and the Rangers' Hartford Wolf Pack are fierce competitors in the American Hockey League, the NHL's top minor league. This app offers real-time updates of AHL scores and news, so Isles and Rangers fans can keep tabs on the young hopefuls down on the farm team.


TECH BYTES

Apple launches kids store

Apple has opened a new section in its iTunes store with apps aimed exclusively at children and their parents. The Kids App Store features age-appropriate apps separated into three categories: 5 and under, 6 to 8  and 9 to 11. Unlike other areas of Apple's app store, the kids' apps are not ranked by popularity. Instead, the apps are "hand-picked" by Apple as best for kids in the various age categories.

Grand debut for GTA V

Grand Theft Auto V, the latest entry in the wildly popular shoot-'em-up video game series, rang up $1 billion in sales just three days after its Sept. 17 release, according to publisher Take-Two Interactive Software. Manhattan-based Take-Two said it believes it is the fastest any entertainment property, including feature films or other video games, reached the $1-billion mark.

FDA to regulate some apps

The Food and Drug Administration will begin regulating apps that turn a mobile device into a medical device but will not offer oversight on most health-related apps. For example, the FDA says it will regulate an app that transforms a smartphone into a heart monitor but will not get involved with calorie counters or apps that track performance during exercise.

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