Ah, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue has arrived. It's the time of year when men head to the mailbox and back a little quicker, and young teens sneak peeks before sneaking entire magazines. (You know you've done it.) Only, it's 2012. And as we saw from Sports Illustrated as early as Google IO in May 2010 as part of Google's HTML5 and WebM push, the publisher's expanding far beyond the print product. We got our first taste of that on the mobile side at Google's Honeycomb event in early 2011.
Today, you've got several options for Sports Illustrated, and a little something extra for the Swimsuit issue. For those who subscribe to the print product, you can use the Android smartphone and tablet apps just like you normally would. Fire it up, log in, and download the week's take. SI's also offering the Swimsuit issue a la carte, for $6.99.
But what we were interested in is the new (and free) SI Swimsuit Viewer app, which works in conjunction with the print product. A smattering of pages have a little video icon on them. Fire up the app (it doesn't work on Ice Cream Sandwich, by the way), and let it focus in on the page. (It might take a try or two, and as you can see it might make you feel a little funny, like when you climb the rope in gym glass.) Once it locks on, you get bonus video of whatever model you just ogled. It's gimmicky, to be sure, and it's overly sponsored by Direct TV. Though we're surprisingly willing to put up with that sort of in-your-face advertising, considering the bodies that those faces are attached to.
On one had, yeah. We're talking about bikini models here. We're not exactly propelling the species foward or anything. But on the other hand, it's nice to see a traditional print product embrace the digital and mobile space. Sports Illustrated has certainly done that, and done it well.
We've got some hands- and eyes-on video after the break.