SBSH Mobile Software Pocket Weather v2.0
Having weather information at your fingertips allows you to make or alter decisions such as whether you should bring an umbrella, what to wear, and what to plan…in real time. In addition to mobile weather web sites, basic weather forecast information has found its way into many Windows Mobile applications like Windows Live Search. There are several weather-centric applications which provide more in-depth weather data for the meteorologist in all of us. SBSH Mobile Software has recently released version 2 of Pocket Weather for Windows Mobile Professional and Standard. Let’s see how well the weather information helps us not get caught in the rain!
Pocket Weather version 2.0 includes new features which include:
- The customization of Today screen plug-in (Windows Mobile Professional)
- The creation of custom weather display layouts
- New weather source templates
- Integration with SBSH’ Pocket Breeze (Windows Mobile Professional) and Facade (Windows Mobile Standard) applications
- Weather data such as humidity, wind details, cloud layers, METAR stations information, and earthquake details
- VGA support
The installation can be performed with a Windows XP/Vista setup application using ActiveSync/Windows Mobile Device Center or by copying/downloading a Windows Mobile .cab file directly on the device. There are two separate setup packages: one for Windows Mobile Professional (WMP) and one for Windows Mobile Standard (WMS). The SBHS Mobile software web site makes it easy to download the correct version by forcing a device selection first.
The Pocket Weather Windows XP/Vista installation application for Windows Mobile Professional.
The Pocket Weather Windows XP/Vista installation application for Windows Mobile Standard. The only difference between the two versions is the "SP" I circled above.
The Pocket Weather device installation routine. The WMP version on the left is almost 500KB larger than the WMS version on the right.
Pocket Weather provides three ways to view weather data. The first is with a Today screen plug-in (WMP only). The second is through the integration with SBSH’s Pocket Breeze (WMP) and Facade (WMS) applications. The third is by using the Weather Console which provides the most detailed forecast information.
The WMP classic tabbed Today screen plug-in displaying a 7 day forecast with wind direction (small red arrows). You can switch cities by tapping on the tab or using the D-Pad. The WMS version does not offer Home screen plug-ins, however if you own SBSH Mobile Software’s Facade application, a summary is displayed.
The WMP version of Pocket Weather offers an extensive list of Today screen plug-in formats to choose from.
The Pocket Weather list of plug-ins and options is very complete. I found these two Today plug-ins most interesting. You can also create your own plug-in using Pocket Weather’s custom view scripting language which is documented in a manual included with the product. From my perusing of the manual, this is not for the faint of heart, however there are so many pre-defined choices available that the majority of users will find a plug-in suitable for their needs.
The Pocket Weather integration with Pocket Breeze for WMP (left) and Facade for WMS (right). The integration is on the right of the date line and provides some basic customization options.
The Weather Console is the core Pocket Weather application. It provides the detail forecast information which includes humidity, wind details, cloud layers, METAR stations information, and earthquake data. The METAR station information used by Pocket Weather is also known as aviation routine weather report. It is predominantly used by pilots to fulfill their pre-flight weather briefing requirement.
The Weather Console summary screens (WMP left, WMS right). You can navigate locations using the D-Pad or Menu function key in both versions. The major difference between the two versions is the lack of function tabs at the bottom of the screen in WMS to jump directly to specific weather data. You can however jump to the desired view by using the Menu soft key and accessing the views sub menu.
The METAR station information from airports closest to the selected location (WMP left, WMS right).
The 7 day forecast overview screens (WMP left, WMS right). More detail such relative humidity, Sun/Moon times, and hourly temperature predictions can viewed using options in the Menu soft key.
The weather forecast comparison screen uses your configured locations (WMP left, WMS right).
The most interesting feature of Pocket Weather is the display of recent earthquake activity throughout the world (WMP left, WMS right).
The earthquake detail view provides the current list of earthquakes around the world and is best displayed in landscape. The display is identical in both versions.
The tectonic plate map of the world displays where the different fault lines reside. This screen shot is from the WMS version, however It is also available in the WMP version of Pocket Weather. The display shows a minor deficiency where some screens in landscape mode do not fully utilize the available real estate. This occurs in both versions.
The options menu in Pocket Weather(WMP left, WMS right). The major difference is the lack of a Today option in the WMS version.
The support of the Facade application is handled via a contact form and a well attended dedicated forum. Manuals are available for the Windows Mobile Professional version and for the Windows Mobile Standard version. They are well written and easy to understand with a linked table of contents.
Pocket Weather runs on all Windows Mobile devices. It requires about 4893KB of storage.
BUGS AND WISHES
I ran Pocket Weather on an Windows Mobile Professional AT&T Tilt and Windows Mobile Standard Verizon SMT5800. I found no issues running Pocket Weather on either device. When I review weather information, I usually look at short term forecasts, radar data, and any US National Weather Service alerts. My two wishes for Pocket Weather are:
- An animated doppler weather radar to view potential rain or snow
- The ability to view US National Weather Service alerts. This is a US centric requirement but it would be extremely helpful to all of us living here.
The Pocket Weather application can be purchased from the pocketnow.com store. It is $14.95 for the Windows Mobile Professional version and $12.95 for the Windows Mobile Standard version. You can also get a free trial from the store.
Integration with Pocket Breeze and Facade
No radar display
No Home screen plug-ins for Windows Mobile Standard
Large program size
The Pocket Weather feature I find most captivating is the integration with Pocket Breeze and Facade, being able to view at a glance high and low temperatures with a forecast icon while I am checking my appointments and tasks. It is also very informative to view earthquake data, but I find the lack of doppler radar imaging and US National Weather Service alerts to be a problem when as a lay person I am looking for more detailed information on a forecast. That said if you are a pilot, the METAR data is indispensable. The bottom line is that Pocket Weather provides you with solid weather forecasting data so you don’t get caught in the rain. However Pocket Weather seems to be geared more to the professional who needs specific weather data vs the consumer who is looking for an overall graphical view of the weather.