Face-Off: Twitter Apps For BlackBerry

If you’re anything like me, you probably find it easy to burn a lot of time on Twitter. It’s addictive – you get into a conversation and before you know it, it’s 10 or 15 minutes later.

One of the ways I get around Twitter overload is by doing a lot of my tweeting from my BlackBerry – heading to and from meetings; when I’m grabbing lunch; on the way to clients and so on.

Trouble is, there are plenty of these applications around. This is a quick whip-through the best three Twitter applications I’ve used:

TwitterBerry

TwitterBerry screenshotTwitterBerry was the first Twitter application I tried for the BlackBerry. It had been a little while since I tried it before writing this post, and I was pleasantly surprised by some of the changes I observed.

Pros

  • Single purpose app – does what it says on the tin
  • Easy to set up and configure
  • New user interface lets you reply to Tweets without leaving the timeline view
  • TwitPic integration

Cons

  • According to reports from other people, TwitterBerry can suck the life out of your BlackBerry’s battery
  • Slow to refresh updates
  • TwitPic is only available when viewing pictures – can only push to TwitterBerry, rather than pull photos in

ÜberTwitter

UberTwitter screenshotFrom the moment I installed ÜberTwitter, I enjoyed its streamlined interface and more advanced options. Note: ÜberTwitter made a controversial (in some peoples’ eyes) move to introduce ads into its application a little while back, and has now released a paid ad-free version on top of the free product.

Pros

  • Scrolling auto-refresh is a nice touch
  • Support for multiple Twitter accounts (just one at a time)
  • Allows you to take/post photos and to post videos from within the app
  • Comprehensive menu options, although it can be a bit overwhelming for beginners
  • Search function is very handy
  • Ad-free version available for those wanting to avoid pesky ads
  • Plenty of configuration options (though see cons for the flip side…)

Cons

  • Auto-refresh can get irritating when first loading the application
  • Keeps flipping back to the default Twitter account; irritating if you’re trying to stick with one for a bit
  • ÜberTwitter can be a big memory suck on the BlackBerry – I found my device crashed or hang frequently, requiring a hard reset. Only avoided by setting the app to not run in the background (nullifying the option to have notifications of new Tweets)
  • GPS enabled on posts by default; unaware users may not like this
  • Configuration options seem to go on for ever – overwhelming for new users

SocialScope

SocialScope screenshotSocialScope is the new kid on the block. Still in closed beta testing (and tightly controlled – they wouldn’t give me any invites to hand out along with this post), access is limited right now but will hopefully open up soon. SocialScope currently integrates with Twitter and Facebook, but bills itself as “a mobile inbox for your social networks” so I wouldn’t be surprised to see more tools added.

Pros

  • Tabbed interface keeps you organized and allows access to screens without needing to use the menu
  • Facebook and Twitter integrated in one interface
  • Support for multiple Twitter accounts
  • Less of a memory hog than ÜberTwitter – my BlackBerry has rarely crashed since switching
  • Lets you easily associate a Twitter account with a BlackBerry contact – adds the username to that person’s address book entry
  • Replying to messages takes you to a threaded view which lets you easily track conversations
  • Search option is useful
  • Notification of new Tweets means it’s easy to know if you should check in to view conversations involving you
  • Intuitive, context-sensitive menu makes navigation through the app a breeze

Cons

  • Facebook integration can be irritating – re-authentication bug means you need to log out then back in rather than just re-entering password
  • Only supports a single Twitter account
  • Has a habit of hanging while uploading photos, requiring a full (i.e. remove the battery) reset of the device to access the app again
  • Access is limited right now during the closed beta testing, but that won’t be the case forever

Conclusion

Each of the applications has their pluses:

  • TwitterBerry’s simplicity makes it a reasonable option for beginners;
  • ÜberTwitter’s multiple accounts and comprehensive options make it a good choice for power users;
  • SocialScope integrates Twitter and Facebook in an easy-to-use application.

For me, though, SocialScope wins the battle hands down. The intuitive interface, the user-friendly layout, the integration of Facebook and the easy access to photos makes it an easy winner.

ÜberTwitter certainly puts up a good fight, as evidenced by the response to my quick Twitter query (below). However, for me the additional functionality provided by SocialScope is overwhelming.

There are lots of other mobile interfaces for Twitter out there – Slandr and Dabr (hat tip: Mathew Ingram) – both web-based interfaces – are two examples. Do you use a different way of accessing Twitter on the go?

What do you think?

Twitter friends' favourite BlackBerry Apps for Twitter

Response to question: "What's your favourite Twitter application for the BlackBerry?"