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First look: Echofon for Mac beta version

Echofon (formerly TwitterFon) has been a favorite for many iPhone users for tweeting on the go. naan studio, the developers behind Echofon for iPhone and Firefox, have brought Echofon to the Mac with a newly-launched beta version.

Like Tweetie (which launched for iPhone and was later released for Mac) and other Twitter apps for Mac like Twitterrific and TweetDeck that started on the desktop, Echofon intends to provide tight integration with Twitter. Echofon is also aiming at integrating their new Mac offering with Echofon for iPhone.

Read on to see what Echofon for Mac offers...


Interface:



At the top of the window, there's a tab for showing tweets, replies, direct messages, and search results. In your timeline, mentions of your username and replies from other Twitter users are highlighted in green. Tweets are sent by typing in the box at the bottom of the main window and then pressing return on your keyboard. You can also highlight any phrase in your timeline by setting the word to be highlighted in the Echofon preferences.

Need to look up a user? This is done by clicking on their username or avatar, or by selecting to Twitter > Go to User from the menu bar (Command-U). Once this is completed, a drawer appears on the right side of the window displaying the user's details and tweets.

Echofon offers notification on new tweets with a badge on the dock icon or through Growl. If you're a fan of the iChat "bubble interface" for threaded conversations, Echofon can display tweets in a similar format for replies and direct messages.

Features:

The new Twitter "retweet" function is supported in Echofon for Mac. Want to see what information you've sent out recently that's been retweeted? You can see the retweets in your timeline marked with the new distinctive icon. To retweet something, you can just control-click or right-click it and then select Retweet. Tweets can also be deleted permanently from Echofon.

Other features inside Echofon include viewing your user information, who you're following, and who's following you. However, the program doesn't currently offer support for Twitter lists. Echofon also offers support for multiple accounts, allowing you to select the account you want to use. There are also adjustable settings for the refresh time (from 1 minute to 20 minutes) and the font size (from 10 pt to 20 pt).

To tweet a photo, just drag it onto the Echofon window, or add an image by selecting Twitter > Add Image from the menu (Command-I). At the present time, Echofon doesn't offer wide support for other services such as TwitVid for uploading videos.

Integration:

The major thing that sets apart Echofon from other Twitter clients for the Mac and iPhone is the ability to sync the status of unread tweets, replies, and direct messages. You'll need to use Echofon Pro [US$4.99, iTunes Link] to sync with Echofon for Mac.

Thoughts:

If you always want to stay on top of what's up on Twitter, Echofon for Mac provides a really nice way to do so. The integration with Echofon on the iPhone is what sets it apart from the other Mac Twitter applications, but there's other apps for Mac like Tweetie that are also very nice.

Currently, the beta version is available for free, and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later.

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