VisitBritain has launched The Best of Britain app for Android in partnership with Samsung Electronics, but it has pretty restricted availability.

Samsung is an official Olympic Partner, and the launch of the app realises an agreement announced in 2010 between the two organisations to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by providing visitors with an easy way to find social and cultural experiences for the duration of their stay in the UK.

The Best of Britain app focuses on making fresh content supplied by VisitBritain accessible to Samsung Galaxy smartphone and Galaxy Tab devices. However, the app wasn’t compatible with my Samsung Galaxy SII, which was a surprise given that it’s Samsung’s flagship smartphone, though I did manage to get it installed on my Samsung Galaxy Tab, and the content was pretty extensive.

With 30.7 million visitors predicted to visit the UK during 2012, the Best of Britain app is designed with the visitor in mind, giving access to some of the best things-to-do from across the country, on the assumption that visitors to the Olympics will up-sticks and venture away from the capital. That said, locals can happily use it too, if you happen to have a compatible device.

The Best of Britain app lets users search for museums, restaurants, bars, art, entertainment and nightlife, and it will also be supplemented with data on the Olympic Torch Relay and venue destinations.

The app’s key features include:

  • Near Me:  Location-based search function to see what’s happening, well, near you.
  • Eating & Drinking: You can search the best in British cuisine and use the map to direct you there.
  • Search: Good old keyword search function.
  • Destination Guide: A fairly in-depth guide to the hundreds of villages, towns and cities around the UK
  • Top 10: For the time-pressured, you can find the top ten best in any given field…such as shops, restaurants and bars.Screenshot 22 VisitBritain launches ‘Best of Britain’ Android app with Samsung, but with limited availability

“The launch of the Best of Britain app brings a unique insight into Britain in 2012 to Samsung device owners across the world,” said Laurence Bresh, Director of Marketing at VisitBritain. “We expect that the events of London 2012, from the Olympic & Paralympic Games to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, will inspire many to come to Britain, and we know that those already planning their visits will find the Best of Britain App to be invaluable both before they travel and when they arrive.”

It’s VisitBritain’s prerogative to attract more visitors to the UK before, during and after London 2012, but given that it’s only available on a very limited range of Samsung devices, it does seem a little shortsighted. I could only get it working on a Samsung Galaxy Tab, and I don’t understand why Samsung was against releasing the app to the broader Android-using public – it would surely receive far more exposure for the electronics giant if it was rolled out for other manufacturers’ handsets too.

Anyway, check out the official demo video here:

Best of Britain