Twitter, the immensely popular microblogging system, is a big favorite of smartphone users on all platforms. Its short messaging style is a big draw for fans of text messaging, and it has become a very popular marketing tool for large and small businesses alike. RIM recently released their Twitter for BlackBerry application, which has a clean, easy-to-use interface.
Navigation and Interface
The first thing you will notice about Twitter for BlackBerry is that it is very easy to navigate. Rather than burying popular functions in menus, RIM has provided links to the most popular ones in a row of buttons at the top of the screen. You can easily navigate to your main feed, @replies, your lists, your profile information, direct messages, searches, saved searches, and trending topics. An indicator will appear when you receive new @replies or direct messages.
Compared to earlier beta releases, Twitter for BlackBerry is very responsive. There is very little lag when moving around the application. It loads quickly upon launch and when it receives new messages.
If you follow hundreds of Twitter users, you may experience some lag when the application refreshes, but reducing the refresh time will keep that from happening. If you are on a data plan with a cap, you may want to consider turning off the Tweet refresh in the background option to conserve data. Twitter for BlackBerry can also integrate into the Messages application, so you will see notifications listed along with new email. This option can be disabled in the application options.
On the BlackBerry Torch, Twitter for BlackBerry comes installed with BlackBerry 6, and integrates into the Social Feeds application by default. This is a very convenient way to see your Twitter and Facebook updates, along with any RSS feeds you've subscribed to. The application is fully touchscreen enabled, and works well with both the on-screen keyboard and the physical keyboard.
Managing multiple Twitter accounts from one application is pretty commonplace right now, but that feature is notably missing from the application. Geo-tagging is also missing, even though you can search Twitter using a geolocation search filter. Twitter for BlackBerry is a new application, but its competitors have already implemented these features, which may deter some Twitter power users from trying it out.
Pros, Cons, and Conclusions
- Very responsive interface
- Well integrated into both OS 5 and BlackBerry 6
- Easy-to-use, and fully touchscreen enabled
- Cannot manage multiple Twitter accounts
- No geo-tagging feature
Good First Try But Needs Work
RIM did a good job putting together the first official release of Twitter for BlackBerry. It is quick, well organized, and covers all of the basic Twitter functionality. Advanced Twitter users will be disappointed, because some popular features have been omitted, but the tight integration with OS 5 and BlackBerry 6 may make up for that. Even if Twitter for BlackBerry does not become your primary Twitter client, it is worth taking the time to try it out.