Still won’t pay for Tweetie 2 upgrade? Try these Twitter apps available for the iPhone

Oct 21, 2009
Tech

The release of Tweetie 2 ($2.99) generated a massive amount of buzz, but I had no desire to give the app a try. Tweetie 2 is an entirely new version of Tweetie, not an update of the much-beloved first incarnation, which means iPhone and iPod touch users need to pony up $3 for tweeting privileges. […]

The release of Tweetie 2 ($2.99) generated a massive amount of buzz, but I had no desire to give the app a try. Tweetie 2 is an entirely new version of Tweetie, not an update of the much-beloved first incarnation, which means iPhone and iPod touch users need to pony up $3 for tweeting privileges.

To me, this was a slap in the face to early adopters who had already shelled out $2.99 for Tweetie. Yes, the cost of an upgrade is less than a Starbucks grande iced skinny vanilla latte, but original Tweetie fanatics are more or less forced to upgrade if they want their tweets to remain technologically up-to-date. Why? Because the original Tweetie is gone from the iTunes App Store, an indication that updates to that incarnation are finished.

That said, and  much to the dismay of my principles, Tweetie 2 is a slick, lightning fast app that makes handling Twitter and its features a breeze. But how does the controversial app stack up against other options?

For beginners

If you’re a Twitter newbie looking for your first iPhone Twitter app, Tweetie 2 is an excellent place to start. It’s less of an investment than Echofon Pro ($4.99) but is still equipped with some pay-only features, such as landscape typing (pretty standard these days) and landscape reading (not as easy to find).

To interact with tweets, swipe across the text like you would to delete single emails. This move pops up a menu with options to reply, favorite, view profile, retweet, quote tweet, post link to tweet, mail tweet or translate (an awesome feature). If a link is included in the selected tweet you can choose to mail it, repost it, read it later or open it.

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Rather than taking up screen real estate with a dedicated refresh icon, Tweetie 2 reloads the timeline by pulling or swiping down on the screen. The compose screen has a different look than most Twitter apps, featuring a flip down menu with options to include a geotag, photo, hashtag or user name in your tweet.

For experts

Expert Twitterers with multiple accounts should like Tweetie 2’s seamless transition among accounts. It’s a given that updating a different account is as simple as a tap, but that alone won’t set Tweetie apart. One feature that might, however, is its ability to block or follow users across multiple accounts at once, making account management less of a hassle.

Support for grouping and lists is planned to roll out in an update, but until then TweetDeck for iPhone (free) is still the best option for sorting out tweets in column format.

Strangely, Tweetie 2 has done away with theme options (default white or bust), but its massive support for other services might make that an acceptable concession. For images. users can choose from seven Twitter photo services. Also, two video services are supported, six different sites can shorten your URLs and catching up can be accomplished through Instapaper or Read It Later. Need more? Tweetie 2 also supports Tweet Blocker, Follow Cost, Favstar.fm, Favrd and Tweeteorites.

For notifications

Tweetie 2 doesn’t offer 3.0-supported push notifications. Instead, the app offers the ability to use the now seemingly archaic SMS notifications (which you can set for individual tweeple on their in-app profile pages).  However, I didn’t get a single notification to appear during my Tweetie 2 test, so I’d advise users not to rely on this function.

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SimplyTweet ($4.99) has been doing push justice for a few months now. Echofon Pro is newer to the push game, but implemented its own spin on the service by allowing users to set a time period for push—no more 3 a.m. wake up calls from girls with hot videos (unless you want them, of course). Because of Twitter’s API limitations, there is a notification lag with both apps.

For everything else

Tweetie 2 remembers the last tweet you’ve read. This is useful if you solely use Tweetie to read Twitter or plan on syncing with the upcoming Tweetie 2 for Mac (which has ads or a large price tag—your choice). I do wish there was an option to turn this feature off as in other apps such as Echofon. If you read Twitter anywhere other than your phone that can be quite a few Tweets to scroll back through before you find where you actually left off.

Like Echofon Pro, Tweetie 2 caches tweets for offline reading when there’s no service. Unlike Echofon Pro, Tweetie 2 lets you save drafts for later posting, a useful feature if you have a lot to say but don’t want to bombard your timeline with information all at once.

Tweetie 2 no longer has easy access to the public timeline, but its nearby search function is unparalleled. Instead of the results showing just list format, nearby tweeters are displayed as blue pins on a Google map. It’s creepy, but it’s also really fun to play with.

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