The Republican National Convention launched its official 2016 mobile app Wednesday morning, the latest facet of what is slated to be, by far, the most tech-savvy political convention season to date.
The smartphone app, which is now available for download in the Apple and Google Play stores, resembles those that have become staples of music festivals and other large events in recent years. The GOP convention will be in Cleveland from July 18 to July 21.
The app provides delegates, press and other convention attendees with a list of hotels in the Cleveland area and a guide to the free convention shuttle bus stops closest to each hotel; the guide also has real-time updates on shuttle bus departure and arrival times. The app also uses Google Maps to provide driving directions to and from the convention venue, as well as interactive guides to restaurants in the Cleveland area and specific destinations, including bathrooms, within the Quicken Loans Arena, the site of the convention.
In addition to maps, another product of the GOP convention’s partnership with Google — which has prompted a backlash from anti-Trump activists — is the app’s live-streaming video feature. Though the app now displays a static countdown to the convention, the convention promises “gavel-to-gavel live-streaming of the convention’s proceedings” so that “anyone with the app will have every moment in the palm of their hand.”
The app will also provide live, 360-degree footage from the convention “for the first time ever,” according to a press release from the convention.
Although only 12 days are left until the convention begins, the newly released app isn’t entirely ready for primetime. The interactive convention venue map, for example, is not yet available nor is the event schedule. In fact, the only name now listed in the “Speakers” section is George Washington.
Still, the product — which was developed with AT&T, the convention’s official communications, video and technology provider — already seems light-years ahead of the first-ever convention apps released by both the Republican and Democratic conventions in 2012.
“Neither political party has launched an app as technologically advanced for their respective national conventions,” the convention said in its press release announcing the app’s launch Wednesday.
That’s a challenge the Republicans’ Democratic counterparts are happy to accept. Although unable to confirm a release date for its own official app, Democratic National Convention spokesperson Morgan Finkelstein told Yahoo News: “When our convention app launches, with more inclusive and engaging features than ever before, it will indisputably raise the bar.”
The Democratic National Convention will be in Philadelphia from July 25 to July 28.