Friday, 13 April 2012

Twitter on Windows Phone - From Zero to Hero


To me one of the most important features on a modern phone is twitter, it’s right up there with the basics such as calling and texting. That being the case having a choice of good twitter apps is a must on any platform nowadays. In my relatively short time using Window Phones (WP) there’s been a lot of development in this area, to the point that I’m feeling like I’m spoilt for choice, but that wasn’t always the case.

Back in my Symbian days like many I felt forced to pay the overly high price for Gravity, which to me was the only worthwhile app that offered a full twitter experience on Symbian. In fact back at Nokia World in October 2011 I practically begged its developer to port Gravity to WP given the state of WP twitter apps back then. This has not happened but now I don’t feel it is needed, it’s missed the boat thanks to several great apps that we now have or can look forward to. Before I continue I must add that I respect Gravity for all that it did on the Symbian platform in its time, and it’s far more than just a twitter app.

My first taste of twitter on WP back in October was with the built in twitter support, whilst ok for casual users it’s not that great for heavy twitter users like myself. This led me to trying the official Twitter app which whilst looking ok it’s a bit lacking on the features and speed I wanted. I dabbled with a few others that were available at the time but was left pretty much unimpressed. Fortunately since October the twitter app scene has exploded with top quality twitter apps, many of which offer unique or fun features that set them apart from each other.

The first WP twitter app I spent quality time with was Mehdoh, it was the first twitter app I used when I got my own Nokia Lumia 800 back in early December. This gave me hope that twitter on WP could be good by giving me most of the features and speed that I wanted from a modern twitter app. Mehdoh is currently free in the marketplace with a new major version on its way that is so far looking impressive. After Mehdoh other twitter apps really raised their game and we now have several competing to be the best on the platform.

Mehdoh 

The next twitter app I spent time with was Carbon which looks wise is my favourite due to the way it displays images within the timeline. You get a large image, the width of the timeline with the text on top which to me looks great. So far it seems to be developing at quite a nice pace with more features and fixes in every release. Upcoming features include instant push notifications so that a tweet feels as instant as a text message.

Carbon

The app I use mostly at the moment is rowi ever since it was updated it to version 2.0 it has become the one I absolutely love. I have to admit I wasn’t that impressed with previous versions but since the new one it’s become the premier twitter experience on WP in my opinion. Whilst not quite instant yet it already has push notifications which are a must for me sometimes. It’s fast, it’s smooth, looks great and like the others it’s easy and intuitive to use thanks to the familiar metro design elements. A free version of rowi is also available that gives you most of the great features but lacks push notifications. 

Rowi

Other WP twitter apps worth checking out include: MoTweets, Gleek (which has some pretty unique/crazy features), Seesmic, Tweetcaster and Birdsong. If I’ve missed out your favourite twitter app feel free to tell us about it in the comments section, letting us know why you like it. Worthy of a special mention is Twabbit, it’s not yet available in the marketplace but it’s already showing great promise of becoming one of the best apps on the platform. It’s got the right ingredients so far, a rapid development pace, engages with its beta testers and listens to their ideas and requests. Keep your eye on the market for Twabbit, I’ve been testing it and really do like it so far.

Twabbit Beta

So to conclude I really would say that the state of twitter on WP has gone from pretty poor to possibly the best on any mobile platform in a very short space of time. This is very encouraging and really do hope it continues as it’s refreshing to see such a fast development pace. To the big twitter fans out there, get a Windows Phone and try these apps, you will not regret it.

7 comments:

  1. Nice piece Steve, and yes the choice is great arm, think I've tried them all, and only disappointment was seesmic , which I used to like on Android because of FB integration, which I couldn't get to work, luckily MoTweets works fine,don't tend to use FB as much as Twitter, but really like a combined app so I can just take a quick glance, also so I can post to both services at once without having to switch to 'me' . Cheers

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  2. Thanks Steve. Seesmic seems to work ok since the last update but it still feels lacking to me. Have you considered setting up the the facebook hashtag thing on facebook? It's called "selective tweets" and it monitors your twitter posts for the hashtag #fb. Any tweets that you place this hashtag at the end of are also posted on facebook, regardless of the app you use.

    Check it out: https://apps.facebook.com/selectivetwitter/

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  3. You missed one great twitter app tweet_it :) btw nice article

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    1. Thanks, will check that one out soon!

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  4. Love Mehdoh and Carbon a lot! Rowi is a trash.

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    1. Hi "Anonymous", have you tried the latest version of rowi? If so what makes it "trash" for you?

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  5. Cheers Steve,think I'll stick with MoTweets, fat fingers auto correct and sensitive buttons could bore fb to death :-D

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