If you have not heard about Twitter yet, you are missing out on one of the hottest social networking movements of the 2.0 era. Originally conceptualized as an in house messaging tool by the team at Odeo, the potential for mass adoption was quickly realized and the product was released to the public.
Just a couple short years later and Twitter has taken the internet by storm. Everyone, from those on the leading edge of technology to small business owners who are trying to reach a broader audience, have set up Twitter accounts and are now producing a stream of consciousness for anyone who may be inclined to follow them . . . 140 characters at a time.
Twitter Options for BlackBerry Owners
When it comes to hammering out short bursts of text to get your message across, BlackBerry owners and enthusiasts are no stranger to the concept. We are are constantly tap tap tapping on our qwerty keyboards and sending these types of messages to every contact on our list. It is to the point for many of us where it is hard to hold a full conversation without pausing to send a quick note on messenger. In fact we even have a new medical condition that has been dubbed “BlackBerry Thumb” which is a result of our constant typing on the notoriously small keypad.
It should come as no surprise then that BlackBerry owners are some of the most prolific Tweeters out there. What can we say, we know a great application/service when we see one.
There are a number of different applications available for your BlackBerry that will allow you to interact with your Twitter account while on the go. These are applications developed by third party publishers who have identified that we need a straight forward interface that we can pull up and send our latest blurb from and then get back to business.
Two of the more popular Twitter applications available for the BlackBerry go by the names of TwitterBerry and Tiny Twitter. There are others but these two seem to have captured the majority of the BlackBerry markets attention and are currently providing their users with a solid base from which to broadcast their lives in granular detail.
Let’s take a look at each of these BlackBerry Twitter applications in a little more detail.
TwitterBerry is an easy to use application developed by a company named Orangatame Software. It is free to use and provides much of the same functionality you will find in the online Twitter user interface. One of the best features is that all the messages you send via TwitterBerry are sent using your BlackBerry data plan rather than using up expensive SMS messages.
Installation of the TwitterBerry application is quick and painless. Simply point your BlackBerry browser at www.orangatame.com/ota/twitterberry/ and follow the on screen prompts until you are ready to start tweeting. Setting up TwitterBerry on my BlackBerry Bold took less than two minutes. I entered in my login and password and the application immediately imported my latest updates and those of my friends.
Getting around the application is also quite easy. With the latest update (0.8) TwitterBerry actually does most of the work for you. You don’t have to type in your friends names anymore, just highlight them in your list, hit the menu key and opt to send them either a reply or a direct message. TwitterBerry automatically fills in their names and leaves you the simple task of condensing your current thought into 140 characters.
Adding photos to your wonderfully crafted tweets is also something that you will quickly get used to now that TwitterBerry has integrated TwitPic into the application. Now all you as a BlackBerry owner has to do is snap a quick photo with your device (hopefully you have a camera), select that picture in your media file and choose “send with TwitterBerry” from the associated menu.
TwitterBerry has grown by leaps and bounds since it was first released. In it’s original incarnation there were a handful of navigational issues and some bugs that clearly needed sorting out. With the release of version 0.8 we see vast improvement in the form of more data being cached, the ability to reload timelines without opening and closing the program, and the time/data saving intelligence to only load tweets that have appeared since your last update. This last one is a life saver for anyone operating their BlackBerry in Canada with the slightly less than stellar data plans available.
TwitterBerry is compatible with the majority of BlackBerry devices available on the market today. If you are running anything higher than OS 4.0.2 you should be fine.
For a more in depth look at TwitterBerry take a look at the Complete Guide to TwitterBerry.
Tiny Twitter is the highly used alternative to TwitterBerry for BlackBerry users. It provides much of the same functionality as TwitterBerry with an equally easy to navigate interface. Just like TwitterBerry, Tiny Twitter uses your data plan to send your messages rather than dipping into your limited SMS pool.
Like it’s competition, Tiny Twitter was located and installed in just a few quick minutes onto my BlackBerry Bold with no issues at all. Once I logged into my account I was sending tweets to my friends in no time flat. Tiny Twitter did seem to take a little bit longer to fetch my friends timelines than I was used to with TwitterBerry.
On the other hand, the scrolling marquee which contains my latest tweet at the bottom of the screen is a nice touch. Tiny Twitter also has quite a few options available for users who wish to customize their Twitter experience from their BlackBerry. These include: font settings, sync settings (auto-update every 4 min if you like), UI settings and more.
With all the added settings and options I found Tiny Twitter to be a little confusing to use and navigate. One aspect in particular I did appreciate though was that the tweets in a users timeline are displayed in full as opposed to being truncated with TwitterBerry and requiring an extra click to read the full text. Anything that helps reduce the number of clicks I need to make to access my information is a plus in my books.
The one drawback I found with Tiny Twitter is that you do not have the ability to see replies from your contacts. This can be a deal breaker for those who only follow a small amount of people but have followers that number in the thousands. Also, on a perhaps unrelated note, Tiny Twitter would not for any reason connect and update my account when I tried operating it over the office WiFi network. This may be a setting I missed or something I have overlooked, but I had zero success with the WiFi / Tiny Twitter combination.
Tiny Twitter is developed by Kevin Cawley and promises to be accessible from any Java enabled device.
TwitterBerry vs Tiny Twitter
Who Wins The War?
With TwitterBerry providing a straight forward Twitter experience on the BlackBerry and Tiny Twitter providing a slightly more enhanced experience, deciding which one is better really comes down to preference.
Those who are used to the simplicity offered by TwitterBerry are bound to be slightly off put by the many options that they can customize with Tiny Twitter as well as the fact that there is no ability to get replies sent to their device. The fact that many options are buried within sub menus is also bound to be a negative in some peoples eyes.
Those who have used Tiny Twitter first will no doubt be unenthusiastic about losing control over their browsing/messaging experience once they transition over to TwitterBerry.
That being said there is nothing stopping you from downloading both of these great BlackBerry Twitter applications and giving them each a chance to be your main Twitter app. Go ahead give them a shot, put them head to head and take the first step down the long road of letting the world know what is happening in your life 140 characters at a time.