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Tweetie: Twitter client with "oomph"

Yesterday, Dave published an awesome gift guide for the Twitter addict. It wasn't meant to be an all-encompassing list, nonetheless, the omission of Tweetie [iTunes link] -- one of the newest Twitter clients to hit the iPhone -- generated a ton of response via the comments, our inbox and of course, via Twitter. Because Twitter is my crack, I decided to take Tweetie out for a spin. Developer Loren Brichter was even nice enough to get me in on the Tweetie beta so I could take a sneak peek at some of the features coming in future releases.

My initial thoughts are very, very positive; I now know why so many of you were so vocal about your Tweetie love. No sooner did I crown Tweetsville the current champion in the Twitter for iPhone Battle Royale, Tweetie shows up with some serious moves. At this point, I don't even know if I can adequately name a "champion."

Another Twitter client?

As I've said before, Twitter and the iPhone are a perfect combination -- they just go together. That said, Dave makes a solid point: the number of available Twitter clients for the iPhone is getting a tad ridiculous. I have tried almost every Twitter application available for the iPhone/iPod touch (see below) and they can tend to blur together.


And these are just the apps I've purchased or downloaded for free


Twitter's brilliance is in its simplicity. Twitterrific is my favorite desktop Twitter client, in large part because of its commitment to that simplicity. Having said that, Twitterrific for the iPhone is starting to strike me as too simple. I love the interface, I just often want to be able to do more. A simple interface coupled with lots of features is what makes a great mobile Twitter client.

This is where Tweetie really stands out. On the features front, it is pretty similar to what Twitterlator Pro, Tweestville and Twitterfon offer, but its interface is extremely clean and unobscured. In fact, it took me a little while to figure out where some of the more advanced settings for the app are. They are actually in the main "Settings" panel, rather than inline the app itself. That makes sense, and is apparently something Apple recommends, but it's worth noting because otherwise you might miss where some of the features actually are.



Stand-out features

To me, the real standout feature for Tweetie is its excellent multi-account support. I bought Twitterlator Pro, hoping it would be a good fit for multiple accounts, but it just doesn't work well. I find it clunky and hard to manage. Because I maintain my own account and contribute to the @TUAW and @DownloadSquad Twitter streams, if a Twitter client is going to do multiple accounts, it needs to do it right. Tweetie does it right. You can view each individual account and separately access direct messages, replies and other data. Right now, you send a tweet based on the account your are viewing. In future releases, you'll be able to select a different Twitter account even if you are viewing a different time line (the default will be the account you are viewing).

Honestly, this makes managing and tweeting to different accounts much, much easier. Tweetie's multi-account handling is the best of any Twitter client -- desktop or mobile -- that I have come across.

Like Twinkle, Tweetie has the ability to view nearby tweets. This is pretty cool if you are interested in finding out what is going on around you.

Viewing further back in the timeline is another standout Tweetie feature. Much like Tweetsville, you can go back much further in your timeline than the other Twitter clients allow. This is great if you have a lot of followers, and want to go back to catch up on stuff you might have missed.

Tweetie also shares the fast scrolling love that Tweetsville offers. Loren detailed the process on the atebits blog and his process and code samples deserve a look from anyone interested in iPhone development. Scrolling IS fast and it is silky smooth. This makes going through lots of info a joy.

The Tweetie web browser is easy to use and you can e-mail or re-tweet a link directly, or view the site in Safari Mobile. The search options are not as robust as Tweetsville, but you can save searches. You can also view current Twitter trends.

Future hotness

From what I've been able to glean from the latest beta release, the future of Tweetie is very, very bright. The next version will bring support for Instapaper (so you can add a link directly to your Instapaper account -- VERY handy), the ability to tweet from a different account regardless of what timeline you are viewing, and a few more surprises that will help set Tweetie apart from the rest of the pack.

Conclusion

If you haven't purchased an iPhone Twitter app and you would like some more control over your Twitter stream, the ability to manage multiple accounts and the ability to view further back in your timeline, Tweetie is certainly worth its $2.99 price tag. If you have already purchased a Twitter app, take a look at the gallery and see if the features offer something that your current tool doesn't offer.

Right now, I place Tweetie and Tweetsville at the top of the iPhone Twitter client list. Tweetsville has a more robust search engine and I like how it displays direct messages a bit better, but Tweetie's multiple-account support is flat-out awesome.

Tweetie
is available in the App Store.


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