SOTAwatch uses the database to get the summit info that you can see when you hover on a spot. When the database is not available this fails and you cannot spot.
Spotlite is a very simple alternative UI to SOTAwatch and was written for the period when phones were just getting Internet access. It was designed to work on these low spec phones. It does not try to get info on the summit and so can spot when the database is not available.
My SMS spotters use the Spotlite interface to post spots because it is simple to access from a program unlike SOTAwatch. So this means you can spot by SMS when the database is not available.
Many 3rd party apps use Spotlite or send an SMS which will indirectly use Spotlite so they will work when the database is not available.
Don’t all rush to use Spotlite, it will be discontinued soon (no date yet).
We could get SOTAwatch to cache summit info. Then we would be paying to store data in the database and on SOTAwatch and we would need to figure out how to implement cache coherency when the database is updated. It;s all swings and roundabouts were we try to balance the cost / benefit ratio to give the best service to SOTA users. Especially as we provide the SOTA web services for free.