Date: January 7, 2011
App type: News & Weather
Publisher: Weatherbug
Release date: October 24, 2010
Price: FREE
Phone features used: Location services, data connection, push notifications, web browser, phone identity

When you think about the core apps that should be on any smart phone, a great weather app has to be part of that list. And as with my iPhones before it, on Windows Phone that choice is easy thanks to Weatherbug. And as you might expect, this app is even better on Windows Phone than on other platforms thanks to the app's use of its live tile, which features at-a-glance info about your location of choice and (optional) push-based notifications when there are weather alerts.

The thing that really puts Weatherbug over the top may seem subtle, but it's important. That is, while you can configure any number of locations (typically cities or towns) inside the application, it will of course only display one of these locations as the default. But the location whose weather is displayed on the live tile can be configured independently of the default location inside the app. So you can have one location on the tile, and another as the default in the app. This is surprisingly useful, especially when traveling.

Beyond that, Weatherbug delivers everything you'd expect of a modern weather app, with a nice Windows Phone-based (and color-coded) layout with Now, Forecast, Maps, and Camera pivots and the ability to configure multiple locations and figure which is the default ("Current") location. Some of those pivots are pretty involved as well, with several map layers in the Maps view, including satellite, radar, temperature, and more. And they're animated, so it's like watching the evening news without the inane weather guy.

So Weatherbug is my pick of the week, but it's also something a bit more impressive: It's an app with a permanent place on my phone's home screen. I can't say that about too many third party apps at all--in fact, there's only one other one right now. But that's my pick for next week.