Free BlackBerry Twitter Apps Roundup

BlackBird Tweet

If you own a BlackBerry and use Twitter as much as I do, you're more than likely frustrated with the experience of using the Twitter web site via your phone's browser. With more Twitter applications available for the device, do any succeed in turning the BlackBerry into a great Twittering tool?

I compiled a list of the current free BlackBerry Twitter apps and tested them out to find the strengths and weaknesses of each. All of the apps have the basic features (timelines, replies and direct messages), with some standing out more than others due to speed, ease of use, or additional functionality.

All of these apps underwent an obstacle course on my BlackBerry Curve 8310 to test their strength, agility and durability in order to find the better-performing apps.

Blackbird: Easy to use text-based interface that works with older BlackBerrys

BlackBird Updates

What Blackbird lacks in looks and features, it makes up for in speed and usability: BlackBird performs fastest out of all the apps tested here. It only includes the basic features: timelines, replies and direct messages.

Pros: Fast. Easy to use.

Cons: Fewer features. Unclear error messages.

TinyTwitter: Works with any device that can run Java apps

TinyTwitter Updates

TinyTwitter has a smooth timeline that scrolls fast, even with avatars. It can pull latest trends, do searches, copy/ paste tweets for easy retweeting in one move, as well as handling the basic Twitter functions. However, even with shortcuts, some of the actions take two clicks when one would do, a problem with many BlackBerry Twitter apps.

Pros: Efficient timeline. Runs on any Java-compatible device. Shortcuts. More than the basic features.

Cons: Too many steps to get where you want to go.

Twibble: Tweet photos from your BlackBerry camera

My first impression of Twibble was soured by the troublesome login screen. The app kept capitalizing the first letter of my username and password, causing the login to fail. Once past that, though, the rest of the experience wass Tribble-free. You can save time with shortcuts and by entering and saving often-used words as text templates to use in search or tweets. Screen shots are available from the Twibble site.

Pros: Runs on any Java-compatible device. Text templates. Share photos.

Cons: Not user-friendly. Location tool doesn't work well. Sluggish.

TwitterBerry: Attractive interface with average features

TwitterBerry UpdatesTwitterBerry Update

TwitterBerry looks easy on the eyes, but sacrifices load time for looks. Features include the basics that you find in most Twitter mobile applications, without any extras. If you go to Pictures, you can select a picture to send to TwitterBerry, but this option may not appear if you have other Twitter apps loaded on your BlackBerry. With few extras, you'd think the application would run faster than it does.

Pros: Sharp look-and-feel. Easy to use.

Cons: Slow. Lacks search and unique features.

Ubertwitter: Wealth of features

Ubertwitter Update

If you have multiple IDs, you'll have to go through the wizard to change the login credentials, something that should take fewer steps (Tip: after you change the ID, hit the BlackBerry button to the left of the scroll wheel to save changes and exit rather than finishing the wizard). Despite this, most features take fewer steps to access compared to other apps and you can use shortcuts. You can take a picture from within UberTwitter. A map of your location appears with the photo. You can find people near you and view them on a roadmap, satellite map or hybrid map.

Pros: Take pictures within update. Control location options. Feature rich.

Cons: Time-consuming to change IDs and options. Sometimes dawdles.

Viigo: Add a new channel for every Twitter ID and search word

Viigo Twitter

You can use Viigo to get news, local information and other customizable content. The Twitter app lives in the Social Networks tab, where you can create a channel for each of your Twitter IDs and frequently-used search terms. For example, if you participate in a weekly chat, you can create a search for the chat hashtag. Its performance is notably slower than its competition. Viigo has neat features, but the sluggishness tested my patience.

Pros: Set up multiple Twitter IDs and search words. All-in-one app.

Cons: Slow. More steps to reach Twitter channel.

The Verdict

UberTwitter offers the most features, while BlackBird has the best performance. But none of the free tools tested here really stand out; I'd still rather use a Twitter client on my PC or laptop.