| | Push Weather Service for 8700 - Review
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This is a summary of the push weather service that anyone with an 8700 can subscribe to for free. In the Blackberry Internet Browser (not WAP Browser) go to Blackberry Help! which is the first link in your Browser Bookmarks under the Links Folder. Then select Extras followed by Push Services.
This service pushes content out to your 8700. What you get is a nifty graphical page with a five day forecast for the location for which you subscribed. The highs and lows for each day are given, alternating between Farenheit and Celcius, together with the percentage chance of precipitation. The moving graphics are the best that I have seen on my 8700 which is probably because the page was especially created for the Browser. The weather is from AccuWeather.com. It seems reasonably accurate. It generally agrees with PocketDay which is driven by weather.com. Pocketday provides greater detail including day/night forecasts and hourly updates on current temperature but only has a three day forecast. The 5 days from the push service is a welcome addition.
The Push System
You can have it push once or twice a day. The underlying service updates four times a day (6:30 am, 12:30 pm, 6:30 pm and 12:30 am for Toronto). Aside from only pushing out twice a day, the pushing is not well synchronised with the updates. For example, the 12:30 pm update arrived on my 8700 today at 4 pm. Pushed content is stored in a new cache in your browser. If you go To Browser, Options, Cache Operations, you will see this new cache that is created when you subscribe. You have two delivery choices:
If you choose this option, a new weather icon (sunny, cloudy, rainy etc.), or icons if you subscribe for more than one city, will appear on your homescreen. The icon title (which, for example, you can read if you drop down the Zen apps menu) is the weather conditions and temperature as of when the update was created. In addition, a new folder of Bookmarks called (if I remember correctly) Browser Channels is added to your Bookmarks page. I have to work from memory because I found this variation of the push service to be a pain in the @$$ and unsubscribed. The last thing I want on my home page is more icons, and there are no hot keys associated. When new content is pushed out, a little notification icon appears which is (if I remember correctly...) a circle with an arrow.
Tip: to get rid of the permanent icon(s) on you homescreen, go into Bookmarks and delete the bookmark(s) in the Browser Channel folder. However, they will come back again to haunt you each time the content is pushed out until you unsubscribe....
This is the better service IMHO. A message appears in your inbox with a rather nice globe where the envelope icon would normally be. The title of the message is the weather conditions and temperature as of when the update was created (but as I noted above, that might have been several hours earlier than when it was pushed out.) When you open the message, your browser opens and the weather appears. No new permanent icons on your homescreen. Much better. Also the little notification icon is cool: a rather nice globe that disappears as soon as you open the message.
My Conclusion and Recommendation
The weather service is very nice and I highly recommend it. However, the push aspect of the service is not highly satisfactory. It only pushes out twice a day and it is not synchronised with the timing of the updates. This service is a good first try for RIM but can definitely be improved.
What I suggest is to subscribe to the service and then add an ordinary bookmark when the pushed content is open in your Browser (i.e. hit A to Add Bookmark). This bookmark will link directly with the service for your city. Then unsubscribe from the service.
Now you can open the page from your bookmarks at any time and, if you know that a new update is available, simply hit R to refresh.
That's about it. The attached pictures show the screen with farenheit and Celsius displays as they alternate every few seconds.
Last edited by cooperpwc : 05-01-2006 at 10:33 PM.