Originally posted on Logical Juice
In our increasingly smartphone-entrenched world, the mobile application extensions of our social networking-entangled lives can make or break a user experience. Twitter as a network depends on the user development of mobile and desktop applications to keep participation thriving. In some cases, app developers attempt to provide a seamless brand experience between the desktop and mobile world, while often the very best apps focus primarily on the screen for which they are developed. For mobile Twitter users, custom design for ease of use is paramount. Beyond the individual, an organization’s conversation managers need to be properly equipped, connected and ready to go.
No matter the platform, there are literally dozens of apps to choose from, making it a painful finger stroll through any given app store. To make things a bit easier for you, we’ve compiled some of our thoughts on a few of the Twitter apps currently available.
Here is an Apple and WebOS view from a self-admitted Tweet-oholic, Media Logic’s Sr. IT Coordinator John Jordan.
Hi, my name is John, and I have a tweeting problem. I’m ALWAYS connected to a number of social media sites, the main one being Twitter. Whether I’m at work, home or on the go (or sometimes in my sleep!), I’m using one of many mobile clients to communicate with friends, family, and complete strangers all across the Twitterverse.
I’ll start off with Apple’s popular iPhone. Let me start off by saying that I myself have never owned an iPhone, as I’m not a big fan of AT&T and their spotty service in the areas I travel most (Apple? You there? Offer the iPhone on Verizon or Sprint!). I do, however, own an iPod Touch – which allows me to use the same great apps as iPhone owners. Over the past year, I’ve used a number of the available apps trying to find the one that works best for me. In this time, I’ve come across some that are great and offer a number of features. I’ve also come across a number that were just mediocre. For the iPhone/iPod Touch, I’ve found that out of the 50 or so available, I really only enjoy 3 different apps. They are TweetDeck, Twitterrific, and Tweetie. All three are well built applications that not only have excellent interfaces, but also provide the user with an experience better than any other.
Palm’s WebOS is the newest to the game, but has already generated a lot of buzz and in doing so some great Twitter apps have been developed. I’ve tested out those available (currently at 14 with a few in development), and have come to the conclusion that Twee (available as a free download or $2.99 in the Palm app store for a more feature-filled version) is by far the best currently available. It is fast and has a great interface as well as some features that other Twitter apps do not offer, such as the “nearby” feature. This feature has to be one of my favorites, as I’m able set a radius of anywhere from 5 to 100 miles, and then see tweets from local users that I do not follow. Other WebOS contenders are Tweed, Spaz, and the newly released Bad Kitty, which has received a lot of praise among the WebOS community.
So what about Twitter apps for Google’s Android platform? For that, we tap into Media Logic’s Director of Media Integration and unapologetic Android supporter, Patrick Boegel.
I like my gadgets, but I also like ease and function. I don’t necessarily need a high-rolling bell and whistle app, just something that gets me through the ABC’s. Twidroid is the most similar app, in my opinion, to the aforementioned Apple fave Tweetie. The application is available in both a limited free version and a pro version, the biggest distinction for the average Twitter user being that the pro version offers multiple accounts management. I am not sure exactly how many users have multiple accounts, but if you do, it would come in handy. Personally, I have yet to justify $5 to go with a pro account, but would have to imagine that for a user on the Android OS with multiple accounts to service, $5 pays for itself rather quickly. If you are a conversation manager of multiple communities, it is a pittance.
One of the better features of Twidroid is that it allows users to send images directly from their phone without leaving the application – nearly instantaneously. Newer apps such as Seesmic (discussed below) are clunky several-minute load times, while the very recent addition of HootSuite seems to make this function a bit of a breeze. An area where Twidroid is lacking, from a user experience, is a central part of the Twitter experience: viewing a user profile. A lot of the benefit of Twitter is user discovery, and the user profile on Twidroid is simply not appealing. The ability to easily follow (or in some scenarios un-follow) a user is buried off the primary touch screen. This might sound like a petty issue, but remember we are talking about using this service on a device that fits in your pocket. Ease of use is paramount.
Here is where Seesmic comes in.
I have to say straight off the top, I have tried the various versions of Seesmic’s desktop apps and they never quite did it for me. I was eager, however, to play laboratory gadget rat with the Android app and they do an excellent job maximizing the mobile environment. The interface is smooth and easy to navigate. Profile views are clear, which is increasingly critical as you make new connections. The overall UI allows for easy, visible touch screen access to items (such as search and lists) that you are used to taking care of on the desktop Twitter environment of your choice. Seesmic only just came to the Android platform and has already rolled out an update which includes the addition of multiple accounts offered on their desktop clients. Overall, I would score it a slight notch above Twidroid and it will be worth keeping an eye on how they add features in future updates. If you are most comfortable with basic twitter interface or a desktop app such as Tweetdeck, Seesmic is going to be the most familiar and easy-to-navigate app for you. It is also, dare I say, the one application on the Android platform of any kind that is the most iPhone app-like. Curious, because Seesmic is not available for iPhone.
HootSuite just launched their app suite for iPhone and Android a little over a week ago. It is feature-rich and comes in Lite (free) and regular (paid) versions. The primary difference between the lite- and full-featured version is a 3-account limit (lite) versus unlimited accounts (full). The full version also includes click-through statistics tracking.
Everyone is trying to provide various utility; I suspect for power desktop users having a similar and interconnected interface will be a primary factor in deciding which apps to use. In my opinion, HootSuite, much like TweetDeck on the iPhone, has tried to take too much of the desktop product into the mobile environment. Like I said earlier, I like simplicity… for my on-the-go access needs, Seesmic provides that in spades.
So there you have it. A few of our favorite mobile Twitter apps that help to keep us connected to you. Do you have a favorite? Let us know below, by sharing your thoughts in the comments section. We always look forward to hearing what our readers think.