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Twitter Push on the iPhone. Your mileage may vary.

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When Apple announced Push Notifications as part of the OS 3.0 upgrade for the iPhone and iPod Touch, I was really uncertain of the value. I don’t do SMS so I am not used to my phone alerting me to incoming anything.

On the other hand I use Twitter fairly heavily (as maybe you guessed from all the Twitter client reviews on CDNNs), and when the first Twitter clients with Push for Mentions and Direct Messages began to appear, of course I had to try a few.

And I can say that I like it. I have three Twitter accounts and a total of maybe 500 friends and followers. I get a fair volume of @s and the occasional DM. For me push works. I like getting that audible alert on the phone when I am working on the computer to let me know of new mentions or messages. It is nice to be able to quickly look at the phone screen to see what’s up. It is nice not to have to load the @s and DMs every time I open my client (makes for faster opens on any client).

You should realize that none of these Push options is real time. The client server has to check Twitter for your @s and DMs, then send a push notification to the servers at Apple, who then sent it out to you. There appear to be time limits too. This can happen every 10 minutes, every 5, or every 3. Each developer who uses push has to determine the balance between practical and prompt, between timely and annoying.

That said, though, twitter push, for me, is good.

If you want it on your phone your current options are:

Single service Twitter Push apps which you buy separately and use in conjunction with your favorite Twitter client.

or

Twitter Clients with built in Push.

To my knowledge there are three Twitter Push apps currently in the store.

Tweet Push: $.99, supports Twitterific, Tweetie, Twittelator, TwitterFon, and SimplyTweet Pro (that last is a puzzler since SimplyTweet Pro (see below) does its own pushing). Note: this is paid service. You pay so much per day, per Twitter account.

Boxcar: $2.99, supports Tweetie, Twitterific, TwitterFon, Twittelator, and Twinkle. Opens @s and DMs in the client of your choice. I bought this before I realized that it does not do multiple Twitter accounts. For me that is a killer. Of no use to me.

iTweetReply $1.99, current version opens Pushed @s and DMs in its own conversation view with limited Twitter features. Coming version will open both in Tweetie, Twitterific, TwitterFon, Twittelator Pro, or Twinkle. The app store description does not say it supports multiple accounts so I am assuming that is a NO.

There are currently three Twitter clients with built in Push.

iTwitter $2.99  was the first, but it only does Push between iTwitter users. Not very practical. Save your $2.99 until they get that worked out.

Twitbit $4.99, came next (by a hair), and is at least a competent Twitter client for the casual user. It lacks power features, and any unread counts or indications, but for most folks it will be fine. Version 1.0.1 is pending in the app store and will add the missing (???) Retweet and DM functions. It does multiple accounts.

SimplyTweet 2.0 $4.99, as previously reviewed, is a power Twitter client with a full feature set, and some features found no where else (easily reply to multiple tweets for one, and attach multiple pics to a single tweet for another). It does multiple accounts, has an elegant unread count, is fairly fast, and has a better than average UI. Push works well, and the author is tweeking the Push rate to make it even more responsive. (SimplyTweet is a one man show, and Hwee-Boon Yar has perhaps the most open and responsive development process I have seen. He responds to suggestions, often with new features,  and attempts to fix every issue brought to his attention.) The only features it lacks are 1) video upload, 2) audio upload, and 3) ping.fm or Facebook integration.

Now, if you are patient, TwitterFon has already promised Push by late summer, and I suspect both Tweetie and Twitterific will be forced to follow or they will begin to lose market share.

In the meantime, the only real option as far as I am concerned is SimplyTweet 2.0: great client with push…what more could you ask.

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Written by singraham

July 25, 2009 at 7:30 am

Twitbit: first approved Twitter client with Push (by a hair)

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twbpushIn my review of the 2.0 beta of SimplyTweet I said it would be the first Twitter client with real Push Notification…unless the App Store approval process fouled it up. Well, of course, given the vageries of the process, SimplyTweet 2.0 is still pending and here we have Twitbit claiming the title.

Sort of.

[Note. Sign of the times. SimplyTweet 2.0 was approved less than 12 hours after I posted this!]

iTweetReply was technically the first Twitter client with full Push Notification out the door, but it is a very limited Twitter Client…so limited that most Tweeps who have ever used another client on the iPhone would find it very limiting.

And actually, while Twitbits is closer to being a client you might use for most of your Twitter needs, it is still, despite offering multiple twitter accounts, very limited in comparison the the rich feature sets we have come to expect in iPhone Twitter clients. If your Twittering is of the most basic kind, and you don’t require much more than the ability to view your timeline, reply, retweet, DM, follow, and unfollow then it might work for you…especially if you really feel the need for Push. Push works well in Twitbit, with all the standard notification options: badges, alerts, and sounds.

Twitbit also has trends and basic search functionality (but no saved searches), easy access to your profile and those of your friends, and the ability to drill down to follower’s followers. You can upload pics to Twitpics, and it has an in-line browser for links. It uses the same one-tweet-back-at-a-time view of @ in a conversation chain as Tweetie (and Twitter.com for that matter). It caches tweets locally so you can view past tweets without an Internet connection.

What it does not have is landscape composition mode, saved searches, groups, the ability to email a tweet or a link, choice of image sharing services, access to your friends list from within the compositon box for @s or DMs, themes, audio or video features, etc., etc. The power user features.

Not that they won’t come. This is first effort, perhaps even a little rushed to win the first with push crown (the initial release did not have an easy way to send a Direct Message or any way to Retweet…a new version with those features has already been submitted to the App Store and hopefully will not be delayed so long that Twitbit loses its street cred as the first Push app). This review and the screen shots is based on the 1.0.1 Beta. I am certain, as the web page for Twitbit promises, that more features will be added as the app matures. They have a good start here.

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So…if Push is a must have in a Twitter Client for you, take a look at Twitbit. A solid little client. However, definitely wait for version 1.0.1 to make it through the approval process…and who knows, SimplyTweet and any number of other new clients with Push may be available in the App Store by then. Competition is good. Good for those of us who use the apps for sure.

Written by singraham

July 17, 2009 at 11:56 am