Home | Stories | Reviews | TreoCast | Treo Store | Accessories | Software | Discussion at webOS Nation | Mobile | About | Search
treocentral.com >> Stories >> Software
Weathering Heights for the 700w

Tue May 23, 2006 - 11:52 AM EDT - By Tim Hillebrand


I wonder what Emily Bronte and her characters would have thought about downloading weather reports from circling satellites and reading them on electronic handheld devices. Weather was certainly an important aspect in the setting of her 1847 novel, Wuthering Heights, and weather is still an important element in our daily lives. Accordingly, it is not just a matter of convenience but also sometimes a matter of vital importance to have access to accurate weather information. What could be handier than having instant access on your Treo 700W Today screen?

In this article, I'll cover five of the most popular dedicated weather programs. I will also mention examples of multi-functional programs that contain a weather component along with some free programs for your consideration.

Dedicated Weather Programs

Some weather programs only do weather as opposed to multi-purpose programs that have weather as one of their many functions. A nice feature about dedicated programs is that they are Today screen oriented so that you have instant access to weather information as soon as you turn on your machine. The multi-purpose programs are usually not visible on the desktop and you have to do some tapping to get to them.

SPB Weather $14.95 [ Info ]

Figure 1. Screen shot of SPB Weather in five-day mode in its own Today screen panel. You can also config it as a tab on the Pocket Plus panel. The right screen shows weather details for a particular day. Note the last icon in the PocketPlus panel below the weather panel is for Weather Center for Windows Mobile.

PocketWeather $9.95 [ Info ]

Figure 2. PocketWeather shows data in a handy five day mode. (Why wash the car if it's going to rain in a couple days?). You can display more detailed information by tapping on any day as indicated in the screen on the right.

Here are some important considerations worth pondering when evaluating which program best suits your needs.
  • Centigrade and Fahrenheit selectable
  • Icon themes available
  • Selectable layout with differing number of days and amount of data displayed
  • Cities automatically scrolled, if selected
  • Automatic vs. manual data update
  • Offers automatic weather alerts
  • Main memory and/or memory card installation
  • Moon data available (especially important to Lycanthropes!)
  • Satellite weather maps
  • Ease of entering target cities

WeatherPanel $12.99 [ Info ]

Figure 3. The left screen shows WeatherPanel in a seven-day mode. Tapping on a day will reveal its details as shown on the right.

As it turns out, which I didn't know when I began this piece, most of the programs offer similar features. They all display basic weather information as expected and take up about the same amount of RAM (1.3-1.69 MB). But, there are some important differences that you should consider. For instance, I don't like programs that demand main memory installation. Actually, Weather Today is the only program that requires it, but it does have virtues that the other programs lack.

Weather Center $12.95 [ Info ]

Figure 4. Weather Center offers a full screen display with six days of weather. It won't display as a Today screen panel. Tapping on an individual day (right screen) brings up some more detail, but not as much as displayed for the current day.

Another consideration is that you may not want a program that automatically installs itself as a panel on your Today screen eating up valuable real estate on that two inch screen that you'd rather allocate to appointments or tasks. In that case, you avoid Weather Today, Weather Panel, and Pocket Weather. Instead, you may wish to acquire a program that runs independently and is only a tap away as an icon on your Today screen desktop. If so, you would have to choose SPB Weather or Weather Center For Windows Mobile.

Maybe you just want to know what the temperature ranges will be for any given day and whether or not it's going to rain. In that case SPB Weather would be a good choice of a simple, no-nonsense program without a lot of detail that you can view in its own desktop panel. It will also sit as an icon on the desktop launcher or you can specify it as a tab in the Pocket Plus launcher.

If weather maps are an important consideration to you, choose between Weather Today and Pocket Weather.

If you like action on your Today screen with animated icons, your choice would have to be Weather Today, which also offers the possibility of changing the background to conform to the weather of the city currently displayed, which is a fun feature.

Weather alerts for rain and snow storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, and flash floods can be life-saving information. In view of the importance of this issue, it is remarkable that out of all these programs, only Weather Today offers this feature.

Stocks & Weather Today $19.95 [ Info ]

Figure 5. This one features programmable stock quotes, animated weather icons, and changeable skins that match the current weather. Tapping on the current day's weather icon brings up a text screen with a more detailed forecast.

I don't know why the number six is the magic number for allowed cities, but the majority of the programs set this limit. The only two that do not have a limit are SPB Weather and Weather Panel, making them the programs of choice if you need to track the weather in more than a half dozen sites.

The number of days a program will display could be another factor when you choose a weather program. Some automatically dictate the number of the days, while others let you choose.

The programs vary in the amount of technical weather data they offer. For instance, Weather today only displays temperature ranges for a five-day forecast with an animated icon for current conditions. Tap the animated icon to bring up a text narrative that includes conditions over the next five days. SPB Weather takes a minimalist approach with temperature ranges on the display panel. Tapping a particular day will display wind and humidity information. This is usually enough information for most people, but if you want more, it's available in other programs such as Weather Center for Windows Mobile Weather Panel, and Pocket Weather.

For more in-depth weather data, try tapping the desktop icon for Weather Center and a full screen of weather information displays with such items as heat index, pressure, dew point, sunrise, UV, wind chill, humidity, visibility, sunset, and wind, but no information on the moon. For that, you'll want to get Weather Panel or Pocket Weather. If you are really into moon phases, check out Kai's Today Moon Phases, available from Handango for $5.

Prices for these dedicated weather programs range from $7.95 to as high as $19.95. SBP Weather is a nice adjunct to its companion program PocketPlus, just as Pocket Weather is part of the SBSH desktop suite and works well with iLauncher. Weather Today is the flashiest with its fun animated icons and themes that change to match the weather conditions. Weather Center for Windows Mobile is a full screen stand-alone application that gives the most technical weather information. Weather Panel stands out because it has unlimited cities and can display up to a seven day forecast with temperature graphs and moon phases.

Next Page: Multi-Functional Programs >>

Treo accessory store
> Print this page
> Digg!


Copyright 1999-2016 TreoCentral. All rights reserved : Terms of Use : Privacy Policy

TREO and TreoCentral are trademarks or registered trademarks of palm, Inc. in the United States and other countries;
the TreoCentral mark and domain name are used under license from palm, Inc.
The views expressed on this website are solely those of the proprietor, or
contributors to the site, and do not necessarily reflect the views of palm, Inc.
Read Merciful by Casey Adolfsson