Twitbit for iPhone

To my knowledge, Twitbit is the first Twitter client with native push notifications built in. This feature works well, allowing you to receive notifications for @mentions and direct messages with badges, alerts, and sounds. You can customize this for the type of notification you want to recieve or choose to get all three. Another unique Twitbit feature is the Trending Topics – in addition to the standard current trending topics, you can also see daily and weekly trends.

Twitbit’s interace is clean and intuitive. Unlike some other clients, it allows you to see not just how many people are followers of/following a given user, but who they are as well. You can start/stop following, send direct messages, and retweet. You can see geographic location for a user and tap the location to be taken to Google Maps to see the location on the map. This is a nice feature, but unfortunately its placement on the screen is too easily tapped accidentally while trying to see a user’s profile, taking you out of Twitbit to Google Maps inadvertendly, which is frustrating.

There are a few features I would love to see in future updates. The inline web browser works nicely, but it would be nice to be able to use it in landscape. I would like the capability to block/unblock from the app. Retweeting uses the format (via @user) rather than RT @user. This is a personal preference, but I would like to at least have the option to use RT @user, since it’s the more common format I see on Twitter. Also, when you post a tweet, it takes you to the top of your timeline, which is annoying if you were just writing a quick reply and want to keep your place in the timeline. And finally, at times the interface seems sluggish. It can take a long time to load the timeline, and following threads in a conversation can be slow.

Overall, Twitbit is a solid Twitter client, with the added benefit of native push notifications and a novel implementation of Trending Topics. With a little tweaking in future updates, Twitbit has the potential to be a strong competitor in the crowded fields of Twitter apps. Whether or not it will replace my favorite Twitter client, Tweetie, remains to be seen.

UPDATE:

Twitbit’s latest 1.1.0 update goes a long way towards fixing several of the issues on my Twitter client wishlist. You can now change the retweet format to the more popular RT @user. The browser works in landscape, which immediately puts it ahead of browsers on other clients like Tweetie and TweetDeck. You can even rotate the screen to allow you to read and compose tweets in landscape. Twitbit will hold its place in your timeline, so that you come back to unread tweets rather than starting from the most recent tweet. Posting a tweet still puts you back at the top of your own timeline, which is unfortunate. The too-easily-clicked-upon geographic location, taking you out of the app to Google Maps, is also unchanged. But overall, the updates do an excellent job of improving the functionality of Twitbit.

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