Weather widgets go official - but in Beta and only on Belle
We've seen Nokia's weather widgets in numerous demos and promo screens, but they're here for real now, albeit nominally in 'beta'. You will need a phone that's running Symbian Nokia Belle though and you will need to have the latest Nokia Maps Suite installed if you want it all running smoothly. Here's a walkthrough and some comments.
NB. You'll need a good ten minutes to get all this installed, if starting from scratch. Make sure you've got a good book or TV to watch, too! First step is to head to Nokia Beta Labs - betalabs.nokia.com - on your Belle phone and grab the very latest (21st Feb) Nokia Maps Suite 2.0. You'll need to sign in with your Nokia account, of course.
'This may take a while' - Nokia isn't kidding. Maps Suite takes almost ten minutes to install from scratch on the N8! Suggest leaving it plugged into mains power if your battery is on the low side. One by one, the grey icons light up in green as the components install...
And here's Maps Suite 2.0 in place, the asterisks should indicate new or changed apps on my phone, but strangely, Public Transport doesn't have this indication. Weird. Anyway, it's time to head into Web and Beta Labs again, this time, looking for 'Nokia Weather Widget', as shown.
Released yesterday in beta, the Weather widget is only officially compatible, at the moment, with the Nokia E7 and N8 (ignore the E6 in the screenshot above, it shouldn't be there).
Install the Weather widget in the usual way - version 18, eh? Wonder what happened to versions 1 through 17?? Once installed, it's time to see what new widgets you've acquired. Shown above right are the two (physically) big ones - 'Places' and 'My location'. In theory 'Places' should show locations around me where I might like to 'Check in', but it wasn't working in this beta - at least where I was in Reading, UK.
'My location' fares better, showing a mini-map of where you are - tap the star to add it to your Favourites list, tap the red dot to update it, should it not look right (it/GPS doesn't stay 'on' all the time, as that would drain your phone battery too much), and tap the envelope icon to text someone with a web link to your location.
Here's a typical Maps-centric Symbian homescreen layout: 'Map apps', 'Weather forecast' and 'My location'. Looks pretty good, eh? Although only showing two days ahead, tapping through will give you a full five day forecast, as shown below. On the right, above, is the smaller 'Weather now' widget, nestling besides other widgets and shortcuts on a typical 'home' homescreen.
In each case, tapping through the weather widgets launches the full Weather module of Maps Suite, with daily (above, left, swipe the timeline to move through the day) and five day (above, right) forecasts.
It's expected that the full Maps Suite 2.0 will appear in full release form in due course via SW_update and, eventually, make its way into device firmwares. In the meantime, knock yourself out with weather fixes - I did!
Steve Litchfield, AAS, 2 March 2012
Published by Steve Litchfield at 11:02 UTC, March 2nd