App Review: AccuWeather for TouchPad 23
Editor's Note: Everybody give a warm welcome to our newest writer, one Sharon Copeland! She's a force of nature in the webOS community, though you probably know her as TeckieGirl from the webOS Nation Forums and Twitter, and now she'll be bringing her ways to the webOS Nation blog!
In the northern hemisphere of our blue marble it's now springtime, and what a spring we've had so far. In some places we've skipped right over spring and into the heat of summer, while others are still stuck in winter's clutches. It's one of the oddest cross-continent weather trends in recent memory. I live in the American heartland, and the past few days have had us under the gun for bad weather. Thank goodness I have a great weather app on my TouchPad to keep me informed when the storms are approaching: it's AccuWeather, and boy is it beautiful.
AccuWeather on the TouchPad gives you a complete 14 day forecast, 'real feel' temperature, alerts and radar at your touch and it's all customizable. And for you with allergies, it also includes a pollen count.
Upon first launch AccuWeather will ask you to add a location, since you have a TouchPad you don't have GPS, so you'll have to do it by city name or zip code. You can add multiple locations and switch between them at will.
AccuWeather sets itself up as a two-pane system, with the current weather (temperature, humidity, wind speed, etc) taking up the top half and the bottom half giving you more detailed information for whichever of the sub-options you've selected. This is the meat and potatoes of the app.
Let's run down the details bar, which is itself slapped against the left side of the screen. Up first is a 15-day forecast, split into a vertical list of days on the left and additional details (expected precipitation, cloud cover, and wind for the day and night) on the right. A tap on the clock button loads the hourly forecast, giving you a picture of the next twelve hours. Below that is the radar map, which is the only one of these details options that you can expand to fill most of the screen. It's a multitouch Google maps-based map with opacity-adjustable radar or satellite overlay and animation (AccuWeather will give you the last half an hour in five minute increments).
Accuweather also provides national weather news and activity forecasts (today is great for growing grass and jogging, but awful for arthritis). The last of the detailed options gives you Accuweather's local, national, and international video forecasts and weather stories. Videos open up in a new card in a TouchPad screen-filling 4:3 ratio, but sadly each video we tried looked incredibly fuzzy thanks to the poor resolution. But it's better than nothing, we suppose. In our use the videos also opened so quickly into a new card that we didn't realize it at first and sat a little confused trying to figure out how to get back to the rest of the app for a short time.
The app also includes Exhibition mode, which true to the passive nature of Exhibition gives you a big huge weather picture with the current temperature and pictograph plus temperatures for the next three days. Unlike their videos, AccuWeather's sunny/cloud/raining/etc graphics are high resolution and beautifully rendered. They've gone for a mix of realism and CG that's simply quite attractive while still communicating the conditions at a glance.
All told, AccuWeather's TouchPad app is both highly functional and quite attractive, a rare combination. They've obviously put a lot of thought into the design fo their tablet apps, with AccuWeather on the TouchPad having a lot in common with its iPad counterpart. Considering that AccuWeather for TouchPad is free, it's hard to find a reason to not recommend, especially with how the weather's been recently.