Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mobile weather apps. Are they worth it?

Now I don't consider myself to be a weather junkie, but have got 3 weather apps on my iPhone - four if you include web acess to the likes of BBC weather etc.

The first of course is the standard native and very basic iPhone app. The second is the far more comprehensive WeatherPro and the third is an iPhon eiteration of my favourite Palm weather app, Weather by Deluxeware that has recently made it to the iPhone.

The latter two apps have various bells and whistles, including forecast (up to 14 days in Weather's case), precipitation predictions, nice graphics, and in WetherPro's instance, satellite and radar tracking (not real time).

The bottom line though, is how good are they at accurately identifying the weather?

Well, in my opinion, not very is the answer. Take this morning. At 9am in Barry, South Wales it was bucketing down.

The standard iPhone weather app, which gives you one symbol for the entire day said it was cloudy (no rain). WeatherPro was indicating some cloud and sunny intervals, and Weath was the closest indicating light rain with a 30% precipitation probability.

The BBC weather website wasn't much better, suggesting the predominant forecast was "cloudy".

I know I'm not going to get 100% accuracy on these things, and that local weather conditions can vary significantly, but all these apps identify Barry easily enough and therefore must be attaching wetaher info to that location based on some premise. I'm going to keep an eye on these and see if in the longer term, it's actually worth hanging on to, or setting any store by any of them.

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