It’s almost become a punch line: "There’s an app for that!" The app market answers every eclectic need, from practical (Boondoggle Winter Wake-up App) to fun (Webroot Sobriety Test) to downright questionable (Geico BroStache). And app popularity just continues to grow.
Research firm Ovum predicts that app downloads in the Android market alone could reach 8.1 billion by the end of this year. And of the billions of apps already downloaded for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android in 2011, you might be surprised to learn that weather apps have cultivated the highest total revenue from all paid downloads.
Take a look below at the five selected weather apps for Android, iPhone and Blackberry. So what if you don’t have access to Doppler radar? Now you’ve got a few tools of your own to give weather anchors a run for their money.
Reviewers use words like "drop-dead" and "gorgeous" to describe Weather Live™ by Apalon. And if what’s on the inside also counts, then this iPhone weather app is a double threat — this sexy, high-definition beast combines beauty with brains.
With access to data as microscopic as say... the local pressure in millimeters... Weather Live™ is able to engage users through a balanced combination of form and function. Beautiful landscape images set the background and change according to real-time weather, allowing you to get accurate updates with just a glance.
Simple customization with plenty of options allows you to control what you see and how much information you get. Easy navigation between locales makes it perfect for the consummate traveler. This is arguably the most well-rounded of the iPhone weather apps.
With over 150 Android weather apps alone, it’s easy to become overwhelmed searching for the right one. But your search may be over with the virtual weather station by Elecont. Named eWeather for iPhone and Weather, Radar, Alerts, Quakes for Android, this app has gained a reputation as a top contender.
Praised for its rapid-fire interface, Elecont makes it simple to check the forecast for any hour in the next 10 days for over 130,000 locations across the United States. Also at your fingertips are weather alerts, earthquake news, geomagnetic storm forecasts, a pressure change indicator, moon and sun calendars - and the list goes on.
The aesthetic is cohesive with the theme: sharp and technical. In an app like Weather Live™, you find yourself pacified by the expressive graphics, but with Elecont’s design, you feel scientific as you assess your environment. There’s even a Doppler radar map and a barometer that charts trends like hourly rainfall probability, making planning that lunch date a whole lot easier. Picnic anyone?
It’s easy to geek out over the weather apps that boast all the bells and whistles. But for some, less is more. A friendly little BlackBerry weather app by Karvi Technologies may be of service to those who can sleep soundly at night without knowing the dew point and UV radiation levels. Musical Clock – Weather is the perfect app for those who once relied on Post-it notes stuck anywhere from their dashboards to their foreheads.
It enables you to set multiple alarms on your BlackBerry using preset tones, songs on your SD card, and even sounds from streaming applications like Pandora. So in a sense, you’re still getting the bells and whistles as you access the current conditions and four-day forecast, but in a far-simplified format. So as you reach over to hit the snooze button tomorrow morning, you can sneak a peak at what you’ll be dealing with weather-wise in 10 minutes... OK, make it twenty.
Perhaps less accurate, but way more fun, is the recently launched Weddar by 96 ’til Infinity. This socially powered app is available for iPhone and Android and connects you to your climate through people rather than instruments. It’s the Twitter of weather apps, allowing you to "report" conditions by choosing from a matrix of nine weather conditions. Somewhere in Central Park, Fifi_le_Mime can declare that the climate feels "perfect," while across the river in Queens, Vinny187 may say it’s "cool and windy."
With more than 100,000 downloads since its launch in April, and over 350,000 reports in 8,000 locations across multiple countries, the Weddar community is growing stronger. There’s even a leader board for the most prolific contributors - and the spirit of competition is high.
And for those who are brand new to the weather app arena (and possibly live in some remote Siberian village) there’s the hugely popular Weather Channel app, available for Android, iPhones and BlackBerry devices. With 30 years in the media business, the Weather Channel has plenty of street cred, and its app doesn’t disappoint. Using a GPS connection to pinpoint your location, it offers current condition updates without having to enter a zip code.
Having a simple and easy interface, plus a social networking feature that connects you with other weather-heads tweeting about the rain and shine, this app is practical through its efficiency.
It’s debatable whether Mark Twain ever said, "Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it." Regardless of who made that keen observation, today’s weather apps certainly don’t stop you from talking; but at least you’ll have more fun doing it.
Just take protective measures to make sure that the fun doesn’t abruptly end. These days, mobile security is no longer optional for smartphones and tablets. Always protect your mobile devices against online dangers so the threat forecast remains sunny.
By Jack Ethan Salsitz