If you've been following our very own George Ponder's impressive "Weather App Smackdown! - Week o' Weather Apps", you will have learnt that there are plenty of options for weather on your WM device (in this case, WM Standard) and we haven't even touched the almighty "Weather Panel" (Hobbes will soon).
Here's another for Standard and Pro called Weatherbug Direct. Best of all? Free (at least I hope it stays that way!).
But that's not all. Weatherbug Direct actually brings new features to mobile weather apps (gasp!) that for me make it one of the best ones out there.
Read on for Mal's thoughts and overview of Weatherbug Direct!
First off, the app is quite small (~800kb) so for those concerned about space, it's a nice option.
But lets cut to the chase: the coolest feature which to this day no other app contains, has to be the ability to show the current temperature right up in the Start bar:
How cools is that? No matter what app you are in, you can always see the temperature.
Sure it has a Today Plugin in as well (what app doesn't?), but you can actually disable the today plugin and just have that little temperature guy up there or vice versa. Most excellent.
But how to access the weather info? Guess you have to bust out a stylus or use your fingernail to tap the temperature. Yes, you could or you can select the option to share your Left Soft key. Now instead of my default "Messaging" I get "WeatherBug" and when clicked it brings up that nifty dual menu: Weatherbug or Messaging. Click the one for 'bug and up pops your basic weather info--all one handed:
That is some smart programming. Now for the plugin which is no slouch either:
The plugin takes up about 2 normal plugin lines--so not small, but not huge either. What's really slick though is how once you select the plugin with your d-pad, shifting left or right cycles through the many "views" which include 3 day, week, today/tomorrow, tonight, or just today/tonight. Each one presents slightly more or less info and you can just leave on that you prefer to look at or cycle through for the forecast:
Under options there are plenty:
- Details (Forecast, Radar, Conditions--web based)
- Locations (multiple, ability to change current)
- Options (Advanced, Alert settings, Report problems, Downloads, Check for update)
- Update (force weather update)
Timed weather updates can range from every 15mins, 30 mins, X hours, daily or manual). You also have the choice (mentioned earlier) to show only the temp in the Start Bar, just the Today Plugin or both.
The Alert Settings are also quite cool. Basically if there is a severe weather alert, you can have a visual notification popup (either turn the device on or not), play a sound and/or vibrate to let you know. Once again, that's a unique feature.
Also, the ability to check for updates for the program or actually report problems is very welcomed.
WeatherBug ages ago had a pay or subscription based program (I forget which) and it was okay, but not really worth the cost.
They have certainly redeemed themselves with WeatherBug Direct, partly because it's free but also because it offers some really great features.
Because of these reasons it has become my app of choice for Windows Mobile. Unfortunately it currently only support US cities, something which hopefully will be addressed in the future.