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AU Weather Pro v1.5 (for Windows Phone 7) Updated

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A new update of AU Weather Pro (v1.5) has submitted to Windows Phone 7 marketplace for certification.

This update addresses quite a lot of the things being requested in the user feedback I’ve received (both via the review system and via direct emails) – so I’m hoping there will be a lot of happy campers as a result (for those using it).

There’s a couple of major changes in this new version I wanted to mention…

First up – a lot of people asked if the Animated BOM Radars could be included. Although there’s a separate App – AU Radar – which is does a pretty comprehensive job of this (and incidentally only costs AUD$1.70 to get the full set of features) – many people felt it should be part of this App too.

So for the v1.5 version – I’ve now added ability to access 128km/256km local radars as well as the National (Australia wide) animated radars – for all 50+ locations offered by BOM. While there’s still a lot of other radars (like Doppler, ‘rain since’ and shorter/longer range versions etc) – I’ve kept things simple. Incidentally – those that do want the other radars can still also load up AU Radar too (I personally have both of these installed on my handset).

A screenshot of the radar page is pictured below –

wpr_radar

Next up a lot of people commented on (ok – “complained about”) the UI – such as it not being as ‘Metro’ friendly as it could be, it being a little cluttered and hard to read – and that the photographic icons weren’t very attractive (as they were low resolution only). Some folks even (quite rudely lol) commented that I’d used American spelling rather than ‘stralian versions (like ‘initializing’ instead of ‘initialising’ etc)

So for this release there’s been quite a big facelift of the whole UI. One of my sources of inspiration (apart from re-reading the Microsoft materials) – was an excellent blog post from Jeff Wilcox called ‘Metro Design Guide for developers 1.0’  (which had some awesome tips on some of the more subtle but visually important aspects of WP7 app design such as what sort of spacing to use around screens, appropriate text sizes/styles etc). 

From these and a lot of playing about with different designs – I settled on the following new designs – which I think does a lot to improve readability, more white space, more Metro friendly, and a lot less unnecessary chrome.

Here’s a before/after screen of the Observations page and below it the Forecasts page (before on left – after on right) – note that a bit more work was done post these pictures.

newobs

and for the forecasts –

newfc

I also gave the forecast and 72 hour observation history graphs a bit of a rework (sorry don’t have original screens). These screens previously weren’t very theme friendly – so the new versions got a bit of a makeover too :

wpr_72hrgraph  

 wpr_fcgraph

One thing to note on the new version is I’ve completely dropped the use of the photographic icons as they weren’t available in the full resolution I wanted and hence looked pretty blurry(which incidentally came from the US gov weather services site – and originally used on the Media Center weather App I wrote in a previous life).  Instead – this new version uses the Metro icon set only – and superimposes them on top of your nominated theme accent color.

There’s also quite a few other spots which had minor (and more major) updates – which you can check out if you get the new version.

With regards to the live tiles – numerous o/s issues/bugs still exist making it sometimes unreliable (which unfortunately I’m not able to do anything about). I was really hoping the new NoDo update would remedy these problems – but after running with that it appears nothing was changed on that front. I’m now hoping maybe mango update will do better (but seeing as all questions/feedback sent to Microsoft about this topic, has just straight out ignored – I’m not counting my chickens).

Anyhow – I hope those using this app enjoy the new update. While there’s still a bunch of things I want to add in future to this product, and improvements I want to make – I think this update will address most of the things people have been asking for.

Thanks again to everyone who provided feedback (there’s been some 50+ reviews/comments on marketplace and have received loads of emails) – this was a great help – and keep them coming.

This app has also been the #1 top selling News/Weather app in Australia since a couple of days it was initially published in Jan/11 – and still is (now in April) – so thanks to everyone who took the time to evaluate and purchase it!

The new version should hopefully be published/approved in next 24-72 hours by Microsoft Marketplace (assuming they don’t find anything to complain about) .

Note : As per previous updates – if you’re running an earlier trial version AND you haven’t installed NoDo WP7 update – the marketplace App ‘update bug’ (the actual important bit of the NoDo which ‘must not be mentioned’) –  means you need to uninstall this App and reinstall the new version when it arrives.

Written by mobilewares

April 6, 2011 at 4:15 pm

WP7 App(s) Launch: ‘AU Newswire’ + ‘UK Newswire’

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In my ongoing quest to achieve world domination release a truckload of WP7 apps – 2 x new apps were submitted to the WP7 Marketplace for certification over the past couple of days (taking the mobilewares total published apps up to 18).

These new apps are designed to allow you to access the ‘best of’ new sources in the given regions (AU for Australia, UK for United Kingdom) – by offering a fast (and slightly sexy) RSS reading experience, grouped together by topics.

 

smallpc UK Newswire
Click here for product page
Offers best of news from around the UK (England, Wales, Scotland + Nth Ireland) including BBC World, Sky News, The Telegraph, SUN, Mirror, Evening Standard, The Mail Online, Independant.IE and more..
smallpc AU Newswire
Click here for product page
Offers best of news from around Australia – including ABC Online, TheAge, SMH, Brisbane Times, Mercury, Daily Telgraph, news.com, Herald-Sun, Bigpond (Unmetered access for Telstra users) and more..

Both apps share a common engine – and each provide around 200 built in/preset feeds for you to chose from (so no need to search for content/rss feeds on a ‘generic’ rss reader).  For each topic (10 different ones to chose from) – they can be enabled/disabled and reordered for the main page/pivot (via settings page) – and you can then assign a ‘default’ feed to each one (so it quickly brings up that source when you pivot across to that topic).   For any additional feeds – there’s also a ‘by topic’ and ‘by publisher’ browser allowing you to access any other feeds you don’t have assigned as a default feed for a topic. 

Once you’re viewing a topic/feed – clicking on any news item takes you directly to an inbuilt viewer (with a web browser hosted inside the page) – so you don’t need to leave the app or lose your context/place.

Here’s some screenshots below (from both AU + UK versions) – check out the product pages (linked above) for the full set of screenshots and details of each app.

  au1   au3    au7

  au4   uk6    uk5

 

As with many of the Apps I have written so far – I’ve made this one to cater for a core user in mind – ‘me’. Personally, I wanted an App to be able to get to news from some of the more serious news sources (like Australia’s ABC, TheAge, The Australian etc) – as all the offerings around at the moment were locked into publications I wouldn’t normally be interested in due to their more lightweight/tabloid reporting or lack of local content (such as NineMSN, Bigpond etc).  

While there’s a number of great WP7 RSS readers already out there too – all of them required quite a bit of setup/configuration to bring in all the feeds I actually wanted – so the idea of an app with everything ‘preloaded’ seemed like the way to go.

Hopefully there’s some other users out there with similar needs that will enjoy using this app.

Both apps have trial versions (so you can see if you like it first) – and are selling for the introductory ‘base’ price of USD$1.29 (which on the Microsoft Wp7 Marketplace currency exchange actually translates to AUD$1.70 and GBP£0.99).

These should be available sometime soon, both are already submitted (first one 2 days ago) – but there appears to be a bit of a backlog on marketplace testing this week (some of the FM radio apps submitted last weekend are still to be approved or tested). 

Keep an eye out for these in the ‘News & Weather’ categories in paid apps on a Windows Phone 7 near you.

Written by mobilewares

February 26, 2011 at 9:38 am