TwitterBerry

24 01 2008

As promised, the premier BlackBerry App Review is indeed a Twitter application, sent to me by Andrew Feinberg.  We (Ok, I) are reviewing Orangatame’s TwitterBerry.

For those of you who don’t know, Twitter very simply asks the question: “What are you doing?”  You send up a post (140 characters or less) which is instantly viewable to any Twitter member (unless you’re weird and have made your updates private).  It’s a quick and easy way to communicate with friends, get the cathartic value of a full-fledged blog, and even reach out for help and advice from your friends and “followers.”

Now, on to TwitterBerry.

Andrew sent it to me and the download was quick as a bunny.

Sadly, as quickly as it was installed it hit me with a bit of a stumbling block:  after logging in there is no confirmation.  No where on the screen did it tell me that I was logged in, nor did it display my user picture or anything else.  The only way that I could tell that I was not logged in successfully was that it didn’t work.  Even then, I couldn’t tell that right from the home screen.

The TwitterBerry home screen is very Spartan.  It simply asks “What are you doing?” and provides a cursor.  Once you start typing a counter appears to let you know how many characters you have remaining (just like the website does).  When you’re done, a simple click of the Pearl gives you the option to “update” and away you go.  In theory.  Because TwitterBerry does not display log-in info or tell you if your log-in was not recognized you won’t know that your post didn’t work until you log-in to the website and see that it isn’t there.

If we press the menu key we have some more options, first (after update) being “Configure”.  This lets you view or change the name you’re signed in under.  No, this isn’t as helpful as you’d think because you could put in totally wrong info and not be told.  However, if you’re like me and assume that it was some sort of password typo you can go in and try try again.

Next down we have Friends Timeline.

The “Friends Timeline” is similar to what you see if you’re logged in at Twitter.com.  You have all the posts left by you and the people you follow, displayed with their user picture, most recent on top.  The only downside is that, unlike the site, there is no “older” function; you see the 20 most-recent posts and that’s it.

The posts are truncated, but clicking on one will expand it.  Once expanded you can read the whole post and even navigate to any embedded URL’s.  A simple click of the back button returns you to your list-o-posts.

Once you’re on the “Friends Timeline” you need to go back  to the home screen if you want to go access any other functions.   The menu key will only give you “open” (as in “open this post”) or “close” (which takes you back home).

Next feature:  Get Replies

“Get Replies” pulls up a screen like the “Friends Timeline”, but displays the last 20 replies to your posts.  Replies start with @<your name here>.  “Get Replies” offers a quick and easy way to see if anyone has anything to say about your posts.

My Timeline

Just shows the last 20 posts that you’ve written.

Public Timeline

This one shows you the last 20 posts left by anyone who does not protect their updates.  “Public Timeline” allows you to exercise your voyeuristic tendencies and see what strangers are up to.

Lastly, there’s an “About” which will let you know how to get in touch with Orangatame and learn more about who they are and what they do.

There are also BlackBerry options on the menu, and those are “Check Spelling” (duh) and “Show Symbols”, so that you can pull up some additional symbols that aren’t displayed on the keypad.

Now we will leave the realm of the objective and get into my reaction to and opinion of TwitterBerry.

My only real concern is the lack of confirmation after logging in.  I would love to be notified that my log-in failed and maybe even have my name screen name displayed somewhere on the home screen.  There’s enough space at the top of the screen (where the only thing displayed is “TwitterBerry”) to throw in a “Welcome, Lobsticles” or some such greeting.

The lack of a “view older” function from the “Timeline” screens is very minor.  Chances are, if you’re installing TwitterBerry it’s because you keep a decently close eye on your Twitter already.  You don’t need older posts because you’ve already seen them.

The only other thing that I’m not a fan of is the inability to go from one timeline to another without making a pit stop back at the home screen.  Why the heck can’t I jump from the Public Timeline to go and see My Replies?  I couldn’t tell you. Luckily, the home screen loads almost instantly, so we’re saved from waiting around just to load a page that we don’t even want to be on.  Not a big deal at all, and certainly nothing to lose sleep over from a free app.

I’m really impressed with TwitterBerry.  The open and simple nature of Twitter seems to have carried over nicely.  There’s nothing very intricate, which is grand.  It is far simpler than opening up the BlackBerry browser, navigating to Twitter and then proceeding to write a post.  The fact that the home screen is devoid of anyone elses posts or pictures lets it load up super fast so you cna open TwitterBerry, post and run.  Even while I sit here, right in front of the computer, I prefer posting via TwitterBerry because it is so fast.

Overall, I think that anyone who uses Twitter already would certainly be served by checking out TwitterBerry.  It’ll give you the best of the site, beautifully optimised for the BlackBerry and its on-the-go nature.

Orangatame Software is located at www.orangatame.com

Click on Products and the TwitterBerry to see if your BlackBerry is supported.

To get TwitterBerry, navigate your BlackBerry browser to http://www.orangatame.com/ota/twitterberry

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