Android users will be overjoyed to hear we have a new app out in the Google Play store, a total rewrite which replaces our creaky offering from 2010.
"Our goal is to create the best surf forecast available across a range of devices." Says lead developer Gavin Cooper and it was with this in mind we went about unifying your experience across iOS and Android devices. Mobile is already the primary method of obtaining a huge percentage of forecasts and users want that process be as streamlined and informative as possible. At the risk of sounding twee mobile isn't the future, it is the now, and all development starts mobile first
One tip, when you download the new app, register and log in. The experience of navigating from spot to spot using favourites is miles faster, and generally tailoring the app to your preferences makes for an exponentially improved experience. The same goes for the site, log in. We cannot imagine using the site any other way.
Second tip, if you want the app to open on a specific tab head to "Settings" and "Choose Start Tab" and you can select Favourites, or whichever tab you like. We personally go for our Favourites for quick access to our local forecasts. .
Six new features you'll want to get acquainted with in the new app
1. Improved forecast and chart layouts (the data is the same as ever).
2. New home stream view with surf reports (eyeballs), latest and greatest photos and editorial.
3. The stream will display content relative to your favourite spots, being logged-in customises this around your spots and regions (log in!).
4. Integrated Favourites list provides instant access to your spots between the app and desktop.
5. Brand new photo and feature viewer.
6. Pro level access means live streaming web cams and 15 day forecasts.
Ask any developer at MSW what they want to achieve and the reply will invariably involve animated GIFs and superlatives (we cut out the former).
What did we set out to create? A more useful app?
"We wanted to make it awesome" Said Michael Buxton the app's primary developer. "The previous one was simply old and outdated, this time we have a new UI which is much easier to use, navigate, has more features, and ties in with the site in a more integrated fashion."
Android is complex mishmash of operating systems, so what did we test on?
"Our mobile test suite of: a Google Nexus 4, Samsung Galaxy 3, Galaxy Notes 1, 2 and 3, and for the older legacy devices a Samsung Galaxy S and HTC Wildfire S. Then further tests on Android's emulation tools."
Will it work with all Android phones?
"The app is optimised for devices running Android 3.0 Honeycomb and greater – Ice cream sandwich (4.0), Jelly Bean (4.1, 4.2, 4.3) and the latest release Kit Kat (4.4). Where we have used their refined and evolved UI. But we have made it compatible with older versions of Android - 2.3 (Gingerbread), though in this case the phone is usually running on some ageing hardware and doesn't have the same architecture as the newer APIs so won't be as fast as the newer phones."
How do Android and iPhone (iOS) differ in developmental terms?
"Both iOS and Android are near enough equal in complexity to write for, having very good support, documentation and resources to use. Android though is quite fragmented, with thousands of handsets on the market all having different screen sizes, resolutions and different API versions. The good thing about this for users is that they have thousands of devices to pick from with different specs and features. The developer then has to implement the app making it presentable and usable on this wide range of devices, where as iOS I personally find is a lot more streamlined and quicker to develop for."
Download your free copy of the app HERE
For iPhone users our app is being featured in the ‘Plan Your Winter Break’ feature on the App Store. Check it out if you haven't already.
Windows app available HERE