Royally annoying wedding apps

April 22, 2011

Haven’t had your fill of Wills and Kate yet? Never fear, the app market will save you. Match royal wedding couples. Dress William up in a bridal gown. Leave the happy couple a wish in a virtual guest book.

More than 20 apps on the Royal Wedding have infiltrated the tablet market, raising the question: Why on earth is their an app for that?

It’s not that the topic is a pointless one. Google searches for the terms “royal family” and “Queen Elizabeth” have doubled since the beginning of April. Searches for “Kate Middleton” have quadrupled. The British government believes a quarter of the Earth’s population will tune in for the Friday nuptials.

It’s just that the offerings are about as dreary as a rainy London day.

The BBC app tells me: “The color of William’s tie in the formal official engagement photograph is blue.” Of course, every app has an image of the official engagement photo, but for the colorblind, it really is considerate for the BBC to dedicate an entire page to this sentence.

The Hello! magazine app offers up this: “Ben thinks it is important for Kate not to get swept away by other people’s expectations and be true to herself.” Ben, of course, being Ben De Lisi. Who is Ben De Lisi? Well, the app doesn’t tell you that. (Turns out he’s a fashion designer in London.)

The NBC app offers tantalizing sections: “Daily Diary,” “Jewels,” and “Etiquette and Traditions.” Just how does one curtsey to a queen? Unfortunately, the only section that consistently opens for me is the “Shop” section. I can’t curtsey, but I can “BUY NOW” an $80 replica of Kate’s (and formerly Princess Di’s) sapphire engagement ring.

The app that comes close to being fit for a king is the Collection, a deft blend of videos, annotated Kate and Will comics and long-form articles. The Collection is actually a new iPad-based publication from L’Hebdo, a weekly French magazine. Their first offering is devoted to “the Firm,” as Prince Philip refers to the royal family. The coverage of the wedding bodes well for future issues (though they could have left out the “make William bald” interactive).

The Collection is as simple and elegant as we can hope Kate’s gown will be. No open tabs, no pop-up e-mails, just you and the regal content of the app, which includes a variety of options to sit and linger over, not just a hastily assembled hodgepodge of facts and photos.

God save the app.

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