The BBC has just launched a new weather app, available to download for both Android and iPhone. The app pretty much does what it says on the tin, in that it tells you the weather and doesn't go far beyond that.
The best way to think of the BBC Weather app is to view it more as a simple and easy way to view the more-complex data provided on the BBC Weather website.
Fire it up and the first thing you see is the current weather based on your location, which for most people is all they need. On top of the temperature, which is presented in an easy to read bold text, you can also see the wind and pollen levels at a glance. If you fancy finding out more-detailed weather information, then all you need to do is tap the current weather and an hourly report will slide out. From this you can swipe left or right to see exactly how the weather will change.
The bottom of the app will give a five-day forecast for a specific location, so you can scan ahead and see how the rest of the week is going to play out. To the left of the app is a slide-out search bar, on both iOS and Android, which will list every location you have saved for weather reports.
From this slide-out bar you can search to find a separate location different from your current one and then add it to the app. This way you can get up-to-date weather information from a multitude of different places around the globe, all at a glance. For the Android version, it is also possible to swap out location data via NFC, which is a feature we don't see implemented enough in smartphones.
As for the actual weather reports, they are taken from the Met Office and should match up with the rest of the information offered by BBC Weather elsewhere. The BBC has opted for a very stripped-back and simple look for the application, which should mean absolutely everyone can use it. Accessibility was also an important factor when the BBC designed the app, so keeping simple blocks of text means the iPhone can easily read them out.
The Android app also gets its own weather widget, which is essentially a shrunken version of the app itself. Sitting on the home page, it shows weather information at a glance and also allows you to tap individual days, to open up the app for more detail.
Sadly neither app features any animation like a lot of the competition, with the BBC instead opting for a simple approach when it comes to weather. There is a simple background image that the app will show based on weather, but it doesn't go beyond a few simple clouds or a bit of rain.
Still, for an entirely free app, BBC Weather does a really great job of the simple task in hand. With iOS, it is a more than worthy replacement for the iPhone's own weather application, although this could change at WWDC when iOS 7 is announced.
Unfortunately the BBC doesn't currently have any plans to bring the app beyond the iPhone and Android, although we are sure that as the operating systems get more popular, the app will be developed for them. Another thing worth noting is that there is no bespoke tablet app.
The BBC says the new weather app is compatible with most Android 2.2 or later devices and the iPhone. You can download the application now from either Google Play or the iTunes Store.
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