Sports Card Collector’s Guide to Mobile Apps
It is certainly no great revelation that smart phones have forever changed the way we live. With applications that allow for increased productivity, easier time management, simpler navigation and social communication, your cell phone has most likely become as important to you when leaving the house as your keys and wallet. As mobile technology continues to develop, so do the possibilities for collector-specific apps. Below is a comprehensive guide to some of the current and developing apps that you as a collector, dealer, or both might benefit from. While some of them aren't entirely collector-specific, we'll show you how these other common applications can help you in your collecting endeavors.
This mobile application is designed specifically for the mobile user in mind. It has made it easier than ever to browse, buy, sell and manage your listings and account on the eBay marketplace.
Platform: iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile
With this application integrated to your eBay account, you can track and make payments, pay for items via PayPal and your linked credit card at card shows, float a fellow collector a loan for that must-have rookie Super-fractor autograph and more.
Platform: iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile
Developed by mobile solutions company GoCanvas, the app is described as, "A simple and customizable sales order form for any company selling (any type of) trading cards. This application tracks all details and basic buyer information, purchase order dates, type, quantity, price, and total payment, with all calculations done for the end-user."
Platform: iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile
Another mobile friendly website, this site focuses first and foremost on trading cards. The software engineering of Zistle is robust and has lots of enhanced features for social media, community involvement and trading that go above and beyond mere collecting software.
Price: TBD (Website is free.)
This suite of products from Archanet Technologies (iBaseballCards, iFootballCards, iBasketballCards, iHockeyCards, iSoccerCards) allows collectors to enter specific card information, including card images. The idea behind it is that in a perfect world, when attending a show, there would be no reason to bring your card binders or paper want list. The data-entry process is very meticulous but the ability to add cards faster is constantly being tweaked with each release.
Platform: iPhone, iPad
Collector's Proof is a website that allows users to organize, track and share their collections. The concept behind Collector’s Proof is that by providing a transparent chain of custody a form of authenticity takes places.
Platform: iPhone, iPad, Android
Checklist and Pricing
The popular Wiki-style baseball card reference site is developing an app that will allow you to use their extensive array of product checklists and then catalog you own with a simple check box. The app is currently in beta testing but is hoping to be released sometime in 2013.
This application from the popular antiques and collectibles website is about much more than sports cards. However, Worthpoint's mobile app provides lots of information for sports card and memorabilia collectors.
Platform: iPhone, PalmOS, Android, Blackberry
Price: Worthpoint has three levels of memberships starting at $9.99
While the Beckett OPG does not have a standalone app, mobile optimization is incorporated into the site. Released in June of 2013, a mobile app was released by the company and is still available for download via Google Play. However, it appears little support has been put into the product as evidenced by the user reviews.
Platform: iOS, Android
Sports Collecting Communities
The popular vintage focused site uses Tapatalk, one of the top mobile solutions for online communities. With the ability to use your Net54 account on the go, you can stay up on the latest message board chatter.
Platform: iPhone, Android, Blackberry
Price: $2.99 (for Tapatalk)
The custom branded mobile app is currently available for forum members. A full service app is planned for future release
Platform: iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry
Obviously, not a collector-specific application but Twitter is still a great resource. It's an easy way to get the latest news and product information. It's also a great way to just chat with other collectors, nonetheless. All of the manufacturers are using the social networking tool to pass along information. By following them and subscribing to the hash tags #thehobby and #collect, you will receive relevant information in real-time.
Platform: iPhone, Android, PalmOS, Blackberry, Windows Mobile
The informative and entertaining eZine published by Sports Card Forum, while not a specific mobile application, the publication can be downloadable as a PDF, making for easy reading on the go.
Platform: All Adobe-Supported Compatible Devices
With two new episodes every week, the show features insightful product reviews and discussions as well as interviews with industry professionals, athletes and entertainment personalities. Click here for the iTunes download.
Platform: All MP3-Compatible Device
This audio blog has commentary and opinion on the world of trading cards.
Platform: All MP3-Compatible Devices
Games and Novelties
Currently Topps' only sports-related foray into mobile application development, this app replicates the simple, once-upon-a-time game of card flipping without the inherent risk of damage to your cards.
Topps BUNT is like becoming a bleacher creature. You sit around, talk baseball, follow players and occasionally heckle them, compete with other fans and your friends, and earn points for doing a good job of it. Could there be anything better? Probably not.
Developed by Appolicious, the functionality is similar to the customizable trading card services provided by both Topps and Upper Deck. This simple application allows you to easily create your own sports cards using photos you take with your camera or already have stored on your phone.
This image collection presents a Library of Congress treasure with over 2,100 early baseball cards dating from 1887 to 1914.
In addition to those already mentioned above, trading card manufacturer Upper Deck has expressed that they are looking into mobile app technology but neither they, or any other, manufacturer, has developed anything, to date, with real practicality and usability for the collector.
Capture your favorite moments and turn them into digital baseball cards using vintage and retro designs.
Platform: iOS, coming soon for Andriod
Test your knowledge of baseball card collecting through the years with this fun trivia game from PSA/DNA.
Platform: Android, iOS
Mobile Apps / Services We Don't Recommend
Sports Card Album
Photobucket style sites are notoriously unreliable. As they scale and grow, the expenses become such that the services are unsustainable. In the early to mid 2000's there were dozens, if not hundreds, of general and niche focused image hosting sites. Virtually all have failed, leaving users who took the time to upload their images and engage in the services hanging with nothing left to show for their efforts. Photobucket is far from perfect by is the most reliable option in the marketplace.
Related Topics: How To: Collecting Tools