Air2Web's Wireless Weather

Okay, here's a novel wireless application that's also all wet.

Software developer Air2Web Inc. has teamed up with the Weather Channel to offer Sprint PCS (NYSE: PCS) subscribers with a Java phone running on the its new 1xRTT PCS Vision network the ability to download doppler radar images of many regions in the world in real time.

Users can enter a city name or zip code for over 80,000 locations worldwide into their Java phone and then receive images for the specific location and surrounding areas. Once the image is established, users can pan up, down, left, and right, as well as zoom in for a 75-mile view of their target location -- to discern current weather conditions -- or zoom out to 1,200 miles -- to anticipate conditions approaching within the next few minutes or hours.

Doppler radar images are created by bouncing sound off raindrops to measure the intensity of the downpour. The colored bars seen on such radar images represent how hard it is (or isn't) raining. For instance, if an area is shown in green, that means there's only a touch of light precipitation going on. Yellow indicates harder rain, while if an area is shaded in red, you better start building that ark you're always talking about.

We idly wondered if this application might be better suited to the, ahem, sunny shores of merry ol' England [ed. note: Dan's never recovered from a particularly wet weekend in Manchester]. However, Dale Gonzalez, vice president of R&D at Air2Web, says that around 75 percent of the Weather Channel's subscribers are based in the northeastern United States. This explains things, for -- according to today's forecast on the Weather Channel's Website -- while the rest of the country is in for tranquil weather, the Northeast might see storms and flooding, that kind of thing.

The Doppler application is available for download via Sprint's wireless Java "vending machine" site. Gonzalez says that other major carriers will also soon launch the application.

— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung www.unstrung.com
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