Mobile weather applications may be becoming the new playground for user interface designers, but few can also make claims as to advancing the technology behind the display of the weather on users’ smartphones, as well.
But that’s the case with Minutely, a newly launched mobile weather application for iPhone and Android which not only offers the usual assortment of weather info, like temperatures, forecasts, and precipitation details, but also a 3D view into the weather itself in an application built on top of Unity.
Yes, Unity – the cross-platform video game development engine, which is rarely (if ever) used to build non-game mobile applications for smartphones. In fact, when Minutely’s co-founder and CEO Justin Re told Unity CEO David Helgason about his plans, he was told that such an idea was just “crazy.” But with the debut of Minutely’s mobile application, that crazy idea seems to have paid off.
Minutely is the new app and rebranding from a company called Ourcast, which had previously raised $1.3 million and launched a weather app by the same name back in April 2012. But Re explains that Ourcast’s problem, basically, was that it was built by engineers. “It didn’t have a very good product focus,” he admits. “It was more of a utility app.”
Ourcast was interesting, though, because it could predict the weather down to the minute, through a combination of weather data, algorithms, and crowdsourcing from the app’s network or users. But the company wanted to do more.
“We started looking at everyone [making weather apps] and what they’re trying to do,” explains Re. “And we took all the best features from the other apps – including our own – and combined it into one.”
Read more at TechCrunch.