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Weatherbug Direct: Review

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.

Download here: - On your WM Device - ActiveSync Installer - More info

Ratings (out of 5)

Size on device: 5Ease of use: 5Reliability: 5Features & Value: 5

Overall:

Pros

Great, unique featuresSevere weather alertsFreeWM Standard or Pro

Cons

Wee bit slowOnly U.S. cities

Phil is the father of two beautiful girls and is the Dad behind Modern Dad. Before that he spent seven years at the helm of Android Central. Before that he spent a decade in a newsroom of a two-time Pulitzer Prize-finalist newspaper. Before that — well, we don't talk much about those days. Subscribe to the Modern Dad newsletter!

10 Comments
  • Thanks! What a great little app.
    I am curious if anyone else gets any error clicking for more detail on the today plugin.
    This will probably become my primary weather app. Great features without hassle.
  • I installed on WinMo Standard, never did post a temperature in the upper bar and in my opinion took up a little to much room on the home screen. I used Weatherbug homescreen layout too and it moved things around in a way that I did not personally enjoy.
  • I, too, use WinMo Standard. I did not get a temperature on the upper bar either. Also, Weatherbug is a homescreen. I must choose to either have a termparture using Weatherbug or have the Google search bar. When I run Weatherbug I am unable to have a Google search bar on my homescreen. I find Google search on the homescreen to be way more useful than the temperature. I will keep the program on my storeage card but doubt I will activate it very often.
    If I am misusing it and can actually have my cake and eat it tooo (temp and Google) I would run the App. Tell me I'm an idiot and didn't figure it out.
  • ahhh..WM Standard, always cramping the cool factor ;-)
    I'll look into Standard and see what's up. Homescreen plugins are a PITA and you could probably rip the plugin code and make a new homescreen with what u want, but its tedious.
    BTW, WeatherBug updated the software today for "Pro" at least--love the update notifications.
  • Hello from WeatherBug! Windows Mobile Standard (or "SmartPhone") has a different system for home/today plugins than Windows Mobile Professional ("PocketPC"). Standard does not include the ability to show anything in the Start bar or taskbar, so no temperature there.
    You also must manually edit the home screen file that defines the layout, its home.xml file, to add the WeatherBug plugin to your existing home screen. To find the home screen XML file that you want to add the plugin to, go to /Application Data/Home on your device. If the layout is called Windows Simple, it will probably be called simple.home.xml, but not always.
    Copy the file to your desktop and paste this in the order you'd like the plugin to appear:
    Copy the file back over. Go to your device and select a different home screen layout, then back to the one you changed. You can also make a copy of the layout, but you must also change the tags to give it a different title.
    Good luck!
  • I am curious if anyone else gets any error clicking for more detail on the today plugin.
    QUOTE]
    I reported this problem to forums.weatherbug.com and had excellent assistance from Anicol@Weatherbug (previous poster). New version posted today fixed the problem. Thanks!http://forums.weatherbug.com/viewtopic.php?p=1600#1600
    I am not familiar with the experience on WM-Standard but I would certainly recommend it for those with WM-Pro.
    (verified working with Ebag's WM6 testing4 ROM for Treo700WX)
  • I installed this app, but I've changed my mind. now my moto Q is telling me it can't delete it on the remove programs screen.? help!
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  • 1) It has to be installed on the device (not the storage card) to work. 2) You don't have to use the included home screen if you don't mind editing the xml file.
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