Despite the fact we all have amazingly complex supercomputers in our pockets capable of the most amazing feats of gaming, able to entertain us with rich streaming media and with full access to the internet’s most amazing wealth of information, what do we all use them for the most?
The weather. Looking at the weather. Checking the weather. Taking photos of the weather. Letting strangers see how amazingly detailed our mobile weather forecasts are, updating others on the weather and, occasionally, stuffing them down our pants to avoid them getting ruined by the worst of our weather.
No one likes taking an umbrella out with them or putting on the less fashionable waterproof coat unless it’s absolutely necessary, so you might want to use your quad-core powerhouse to warn you of the external conditions before setting out.
As luck would have it, as well as the feeble weather app that shipped on your phone, some of the cleverest software developers on the planet have created numerous apps designed to let you know the probability of getting your shoes wet this evening.
Here, for your meteorological enlightenment, are the 10 best weather apps for Android, iPhone and Windows 8 smartphones.
1. AccuWeather for iPhone – free, for iOS
AccuWeather has long been one of the unofficial kings of the weather app scene, thanks to offering some great, detailed, and completely free weather forecasting apps.
Its current iPhone weather station is incredibly well featured, including severe weather warnings, a huge 15-day maximum forecast range, integration with the iOS Calendar app for weather stats right there up in your business, plus social sharing and very clever animated maps. It’s positively streaming sunlight into the App Store.
2. Weather Live – 69p, for iOS
Weather Live takes more of a stylish approach to forecasting, losing some of AccuWeather’s nerdy features in favour of a simple, clean app, presented in a modern, tech-barometer format.
Its full-screen layout animates its pretty backgrounds beautifully, presenting pressure, visibility, rain and humidity data on its lovely clock face. It also displays the correct temperature on its home screen icon, too.
3. Weather+ – free, for iOS
A very cute little thing offering an HTC-like flip clock above its weather status reports, which tell you about wind speed, humidity, pressure and more, alongside custom location settings letting you voyeuristically spy on weather in other parts of the world.
There are even some nice little widgets, breaking it down into simpler displays that just give you the basics if you’re only a casual weather fan.
4. Met Office Weather application free, for iOS
The UK’s famous bearer of bad news has an incredibly complex app out for iOS (and also Android and WP), offering our familiar weather warnings, long range forecasts and more.
The app gives out five-day forecasts covering over 5,000 UK spots, using geo data to automatically find the exact tree you’re hiding under. It also gives you the “feels like” temperature and wind speeds, so you know if you need to jumper-up for the dangerous run to the newsagent.
5. WeatherBug – free, for Android
This one claims to pull in data from the “largest network of real-time weather sensors in the world” to tell you how much it’s likely to rain, converting its stats into incredible detailed “real-time” forecasts.
Some of the severe weather features are for the US only so aren’t that useful to us, but it’s still a comprehensive app, plus there’s also a custom layout option in here for those using an Android tablet.
6. WeatherPro – 2.49, for Android
For the Pros out there, this offers seven-day forecasts updated at three hour intervals. You’ll never be without weather-related small talk with WeatherPro.
The app also gives you “feels like” data for more realistic guides, sunset times, rain radar maps and more, all packaged in an extremely stylish app that includes some classy Home screen widgets, too.
7. Yahoo Weather – free, for Android
The big search company also does a fine weather app, with its complex tool offering some beautiful transparent widgets, even supporting Android 4.2′s new lock screen widget system.
Another big selling point is the inclusion of crowd-sourced photos, which pulls in some great snaps from users via Yahoo’s Flickr imaging portal. It’s not the most detailed weather app, but it’s definitely one of the prettiest.
8. The Weather Channel – free, for Android
The Weather Channel’s app takes data to the next level, offering hourly updates and even breaking it down into simple “plain English” alerts. If it thinks it’s going to rain at half past four, it’ll tell you as much.
The app also goes 10 days out into the future with its long-range predictions, with some really, really nice, clean widgets to jazz up your Home screen. It’s another gorgeous app.
9. WeatherLive free, for Windows Phone
The tiled layout of Windows Phone is well suited to little bite-sized snippets of weather trivia, with WeatherLive coming complete with full support for Microsoft’s information grouting system – and that all important extra-wide tile for properly adapting the layout.
The app itself offers simple, clean, 2D weather maps, plus little trend graphs, moon phases, radar and satellite imagery. It’s a nice, smart tool.
10. Amazing Weather HD – 1.49, for Windows Phone
Another gorgeous and minimal weather app for WP8, Amazing Weather HD does a grand job of portraying clouds in a simple style.
This one also supports the full size range of Microsoft’s live tiles, plus the app provides seven-day forecasts, radar, infrared and satellite pictures, GPS location finding and more.