Why would you pay for a weather app?
I mean, it’s just a weather app and your smartphone, of whichever type, already comes with ready built-in access to weather reports complete with detailed widgets, right? Heck, you can always summon the Google Assistant to, well, assist with any requests you may have with regards to the weather, in real-time.
It’s not until you use what I, and many out there, consider to be the best weather application available on the Google Play Store, Sam Ruston’s Weather Timeline, that you realize that parting with just Kshs 200 for a nicely done weather app once and for all is worth it.
Weather Timeline, has, at least for me and many other users who have helped it cross the 100,000 download mark on the Play Store, been a game changer as far as looking up weather updates goes. It’s made weather updates just as cool as The Weather Channel (which also has a nice app by the way) has made weather updates cool. Check this tweet.
I don’t know if I’ll be alive in 2030, the year that Kenya’s economic blueprint envisions life will be better for most Kenyans if it is fully implemented, but I want to know what the weather will be like then. As far as I know, Weather Timeline has been the one app that guarantees me access to such information.
While Weather Timeline’s main selling point is how it presents the same information we can find on other (free, even) weather apps, how is it able to be so spot on with the information that really matters to us regarding the skies? Well, by pulling data from multiple credible and authoritative industry sources and relaying it in a visually appealing and meaningful way. The thing is, whoever runs an app or service like Weather Timeline has to pay to access the information it relays by accessing various channels (or APIs in dev-speak). Now, this is only sustainable when you have enough people paying for the app.
Since Weather Timeline’s model is not subscription-based, like another app I covered in the third issue of our weekly newsletter when it finally arrived on Android which charges Kshs 200 every month, that has meant that after the buzz around it died, it’s becoming harder by the day to justify keeping it alive. This is because the developer has to continue footing recurring costs associated with providing us the information we need before stepping out of the house every morning and leaving our places of work every evening while we only ever paid once and, even then, Google took a sizeable bite out of that Kshs 200 – 30% (this is the reason why battle royale game Fortnite has stayed away from the Play Store).
So, now, what to do?
“As downloads dwindle, if the app was not unpublished now then it would get to a point where I’d have to introduce an in-app subscription or the app would break for new users who had just downloaded the app. That didn’t seem fair so I unpublished it now so that everyone could enjoy the app. I did the same with Flamingo where I unpublished it slightly before it hit the token limit so existing users could add their extra accounts,” Ruston notes in a statement.
While those of us who continue to sing Weather Timeline’s praises can continue doing so (but for how long?), those who hadn’t, yet, converted to Ruston’s religion will have to explore the available options as Weather Timeline won’t be available for download and use by new users.