There’s so many great apps for the BlackBerry PlayBook and this is one of them. What’s Up by Maurice Rice, is a great astronomical map app. Quite a bit has been updated with “What’s Up” in preparation for OS 2. It makes use of some great features of the BlackBerry PlayBook and we’re going to show you what this update included.
The description of “What’s Up” by Maurice Rice is as follows from BlackBerry App World:
The app does all the stuff that you might expect from a full-blown PC application – but it’s much better because it’s portable. It shows real-time positions for the sun, moon, major planets and the 5000 brightest stars. It is easy to set up, works anywhere on the planet and does not need an internet connection to perform its main function.
Here’s what’s new with “What’s Up”:
- Experimental “Point & View” feature using undocumented features of OS 1.0xx
- A new page for setting persistent options.
- Optional larger font and an algorithm for cutting down on screen clutter due to names
- A red themed night mode setting
- Rise/set times for sun and moon
- Phase information including generated images showing shape and orientation of moon and inner planets
- Deep space objects (Messier and Caldwell catalogs)
- Miscellaneous bug fixes including an error in the Location Dialog
This implementation uses some undocumented features not necessarily meant for prime-time, so Maurice asks us to keep the following in mind:
- Despite my best efforts, there are bound to be some bugs in this hugely complex code. Please report the bug via the support email address and not address them in the review.
- The magnetometer is self-calibrating. If you want to be certain that the compass is accurate immediately after starting the app, you can perform the calibration procedure described on the Magnetometer page. You need only to visit this page if you need to reset the calibration.
- Avoid proximity with magnets (including the one in your phone holster) when calibrating or using the Point & View feature. Otherwise you will have false readings.
- You must ensure that the screen is locked in landscape mode by tapping on the Orientation Lock icon on PB’s home screen. The media control buttons must be facing away from you.
- There are two methods of pointing the device at an object: you can hold the PB aloft with its back facing the object or you can point the device using the media buttons.
- If you want to just identify a single object you should point the device then tap the button with a single arrow.
- If you want to pan the view as you move the device, then use the button with two arrows. Panning will stop as soon as you touch the screen. You should not expect a smooth-as-silk movie-like experience because the custom Point & View implementation is only updated every second. This performance will be improved in a future update as soon as the official OS2 API is available to all users.
- The calibration page includes a real working magnetic compass that you can check from time to time to ensure the sensor is in working order. This compass is far more accurate than current “compass” apps in App World that use the GPS chip to obtain your heading. It does not have to be in motion to give you a correct reading It also automatically applies a value for the discrepancy between true North and and magnetic North.
What can we plan to see from Maurice regarding “What’s Up”? Here’s what’s in the future:
- Port the app to BlackBerry multi-touch smartphones
- Portrait mode operation
- Rise/set times for stars and planets
- Multiple saved locations for road warriors who wake up in a different city every day.
- Customized alerts for astronomical events, for example, when Venus reaches an altitude of 20 degrees.
- Ability to speed up time so you can watch animations of the progress of objects over the course of a day.
- The sky is the limit. Let him know your own ideas via the email address.
For everything “What’s Up” offers, it’s only $.99 in BlackBerry App World! If you like sky maps and astronomical apps, this is one you’ll really use.
If you have “What’s Up”, be sure and update it, if you don’t have it, you should grab it while it’s $.99.