Well, it’s happened. Windows 8 is finally upon us and anyone buying a new PC can expect to find the latest version of Microsoft’s operating system installed and anyone else keen to get their hands on the most recent OS can do so through various channels.
The release of any operating system is greeted with excitement and interest, but the new visual style of Windows 8, and the new options that are available to software developers, means that this is particularly this time around.
You’re likely to see an increased number of apps released over the coming weeks and months as software developers discover new ways in which to exploit the tiled interface of the Start screen. Tiles are a great medium through which to display small amounts of information that can be digested at a glance, and brief weather forecasts are ideal candidates.
WeatherPro is a Windows 8-friendly app that can be yours for the bargain price of just £2.59 – just as with Google Play and the App Store we’re going to see a marked increase in micro-payments for small apps now that there is an app store for Windows apps – and it does very much what you would expect of it.
The app is very much in keeping with Windows 8’s modern tiled interface and just like the Start screen it is a side-scroller that you can imagine working well on touchscreen monitors. The app’s tiles are home to familiar weather symbols that enable you to see what the weather is doing at the moment and over the coming hours.
The screen is divided up into three main sections – current weather, favorites and weather related news, and there are various tiles to be found in each of these sections. You can then click through to see a more detailed forecast for the coming seven days with the option of switching to satellite or radar view.
In both of these modes, a looped animation can be played to see how weather front have developed and moved over the previous few hours.
People around the world view the weather in different ways, and WeatherPro recognises the fact that different units are used. The ability to change units – everything from whether temperatures should be displayed in Celsius or Farenheit to choose between km/h and Knots for wind speed – is one of the few settings that you are able to change in the app.
The far right hand side of the app displays a series of weather related news stories. This is an interesting addition to the app, but it is of questionable value. There is no way to change the sources that are used for pulling in stories, no way to change the number of stories that are displayed, and no way to alter the appearance of news. As most people are only going to be interested in the weather in their local areas, perhaps their country as a whole, it seems like a major oversight that it is not possible to restrict which stories are displayed.
One thing that you would expect from a Windows 8 app, particularly one released so early and is presumably keen to gain attention by standing out from the crowd, is a decent live tile in the Start screen. WeatherPro is rather disappointing here. From within the app you can choose to pin details for a particular city so you can see a weather forecast without having to completely enter the app.
Sadly, the tile is rather limited. The small version of the tile is too small to display a great deal of information which means that weather and forecast have to be scrolled by, negating the potential benefits of being about to see the information you need at a glance. The larger version of the tile eliminates the scrolling, but there is also a lot of wasted space. Windows 8’s own weather tile is actually more useful.
There isn’t much else to explore in the app. There is the option of sharing weather forecasts through Facebook and Twitter, but this is hardly a major feature.
This is something of a mixed app. In many respects WeatherPro is rather disappointing, but it is fairly cheap so perhaps this is to be expected. If you already have the app installed on your Windows Phone, or your Android or iOS device it’s nice to be able to work with a familiar interface when you come to use your PC.
With a little work, this could turn into something quite special, but at the moment it does not really deserve the Pro tag. It is very early days for Windows 8 apps, and things are sure to improve as developers get used to the idea and better learn what users are expecting, but this is still somewhat disappointing.
Have you upgraded to Windows 8? What do you think of WeatherPro? Let us know your thoughts and about any other Windows 8 app you’d like to share in the comments below.