Touch Weather for Windows Mobile review

One of the things I miss most about the default HTC HD2 home page is the animated weather (below) that the HTC Sense interface provides. Not only is it pretty but it’s intelligent, using GPS to find your location and GPRS/3G to download the local weather conditions and forecast.

20110425-htc-hd2-htcsense

Spb Mobile Shell 3.5 does have a weather gadget but it’s not as comprehensive as the HTC version: it doesn’t include Anstruther, St Andrews or Selkirk. Instead I have to rely on the ‘nearby’ forecasts for Dundee or Edinburgh, which are just not accurate enough.

Touch Weather

Last night I discovered another weather application Touch Weather for Windows Mobile, which is a gorgeous, animated (with video effect snow, ran and clouds) weather application that pulls in data from any of six, international weather forecast sites:

so you should hopefully be able to include most places you’d want; the application claims to provide weather for 50,000+ locations worldwide. I certainly found Anstruther, St Andrews and Selkirk using AccuWeather.

I never worked out where there is a limit to the number of towns you can store at once but I’m delighted that I can easily switch between my usual three.

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Free and Pro versions

The application comes in two versions: free and pro. The free version provides an animated weather forecast for the current day only.

For US$9.98 you can upgrade to the pro version which gives you a detailed daily forecast (morning, afternoon, evening and night) as well as a more complete, seven day forecast. While running the free version you can trial the pro version for 14 days.

System requirements

Touch Weather runs on anything from Windows Mobile 5 PocketPC and Smartphone to Windows Mobile 6, 6.1 and 6.5 Classic, Standard and Professional versions.

It also supports the following resolutions (in pixels):

  • VGA 640 x 480
  • WVGA 800 x 480
  • qVGA 320 x 240
  • WqVGA  400 x 240
  • SqVGA 320 x 320

Data

Typically the data download per location has been around 180 KB which shouldn’t cost too much on a GPRS/3G data connection, and you have complete control over when and how it updates: manual or scheduled (every 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, 4 hours, 12 hours or 24 hours).

Backgrounds

One really neat feature is the ability to customize the background. Touch Weather comes with six built-in panoramic images, and the option to use one of your own. This appears to be set per location. So, in theory, you could use a photograph of the location you’re pulling in the weather forecast for.

Looking at the six default panoramic images it would appear that dimensions should be at least 800 x 480 pixels, although the largest is 1600 x 1200.

Video demo

Here’s a video demo on YouTube of the interface, albeit in Russian.

Conclusion

While Touch Weather doesn’t show itself on the phone’s home screen, or integrate with Spb Mobile Shell, and it doesn’t use GPS to automatically determine your location such inconveniences are a small price to pay for such a beautiful, customizable weather forecast application. I’ll definitely be upgrading to the pro version when my 14 days trial expires.

Looks like there is a version for Android now too.

Fixing the audio problem with Spb Mobile DVD on Windows 7

20110408-spbmobiledvd

I’ve been preparing for my trip to Luxembourg next weekend and given that I’m going to be spending many hours on a train I’ve been converting a couple of DVDs into a format that I can play on my phone running Windows Mobile 6.x.

I’ve been using the rather excellent Spb Mobile DVD, however I ran into a slight problem: since upgrading my PC from Windows XP to Windows 7 the DVD I can no longer hear
any audio on the DVDs (either previewing in Spb Mobile DVD or on the ripped
movies) but the video is superb quality.

I contacted Spb’s technical support who replied the same day saying that I should install the AC3Filter audio codec and try again.

Sure enough after the installation of the AC3 Filter codec Spb Mobile DVD is working once again: superb video and audio too.

I thought someone else might find this information useful.

Converting DVD to Windows Mobile 6

A big fan of Spb Software House, today I decided to check out their Spb Mobile DVD application.

I have to confess that I’ve never really seen the point of converting DVDs to watch on small, pocket devices such as a Windows Mobile PDA/phone.

Until I tried it, of course! Wow! It’s so cool. I can now get entire movies crammed into 200 MB, stuffed in my pocket!

The application is simplicity itself to use:

  1. Insert DVD of choice
  2. Run Spb Mobile DVD to begin the wizard
  3. Select which movie chapter to watch
  4. Select your settings (format, screen size, screen ratio, etc.)
  5. Watch it convert (on my Core 2 Quad Q6600 it took only 18 mins for an 86 mins feature film)
  6. Copy the resulting .avi or .wmv file to your mobile device

I’m using the freeware TCPMP media player for watching the created .avi DivX video.

I think I’m going to have to try some other stuff that I’ve been sceptical about up until now.

Like drugs, the Conservative Party, doilies.

SPB Mobile Shell 2.0

Yay! for SPB Software House.

I wrote them an electronic mail message ages ago and said that I really liked their SPB Mobile Shell application but the one improvement that I’d like to see is a full screen grid where you can easily select contacts to telephone.

Guess what! They’ve only gone and done it in SPB Mobile Shell 2.0.

Look:

SPB Mobile Shell 2.0 contacts grid

Now, I’m not saying that they did it because of my email. But I did email them with a request. And they did it!

Now I can phone all my friends while driving without nearly crashing the car!

(That was a joke by the way, of course I don’t phone while driving.)