Twitter applications for Symbian phones

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When it comes to Twitter applications (perenially popular, it seems), Symbian and S60 have no shortage of choice. Guest author David Gilson has done a mass review of all the Twitter applications he could find for S60, and presents us with a detailed feature comparison, along with a number of recommendations.

Love it or loath it, there's no denying the popularity of Twitter. While not quite the social networking service of the every-man, it is clearly present in mainstream conciousness. The whole idea of Twitter's "what are you doing" question is best suited for people on the move. Combine this with the explosion in popularity of mobile applications, and it is no surprise that all mobile platforms, including S60, enjoy a wide selection of Twitter applications.

Overall, the quality of S60 Twitter applications is impressive, and seems to be one of the most actively developed niches in the S60 world. This is helped along by Twitter's built-in feature of showing the name of the client that people have posted from. This gives developers a zero-cost way of advertising their product not found in many other cloud environments. There are a total of eight Twitter applications in the S60 world (including the mobile site), and AllAboutSymbian has already reviewed Gravity, Twittix and Tweets60. The other available applications are: Fring, J1ck.tweet, Tweets60 Pro, Nimbuzz and Twitter's mobile site.

Together, these applications form an impressively large set of features, over forty. Without further ado, the table below shows the capability of each application, along with their price and current version.

Feature list for all S60 Twitter Applications

Unsurprisingly, Gravity reigns supreme, and if you want to know more Ewan has already reviewed it in detail. I had avoided Gravity until now because I find it easier to set up new phones without applications that are tied to an IMEI, as I discussed in my Tweets60 review. However, in my brief time with Gravity, I have been impressed by its comprehensive feature set, and how it is all seamlessly knitted together in the user interface. Having said that, I would hesitate to recommend Gravity to a beginner because there is a cost to this level of sophistication. The user needs to be au fait with all the concepts surrounding Twitter. Give this to your non-geek friends and I'm sure terms such as "RT" and "Yfrog" will meet with furrowed brows!

In second place by a large margin, Twittix has a more basic, standardised user interface, which lacks the visual wow-factor that Gravity has. I experienced serious stability issues while testing this on an E51 and E55, which did not come up in Ewan's Twittix review on AAS. I asked the publishers, Mojos Mobile, for a comment, but at the time of publishing I had not received a reply.

TweetS60 Pro became the third place winner at the last moment, thanks to the recent additions of integrating on-line searches and Twitter lists. While not the most full-featured application, it should be considered that Ravensoft have added some unique features to TweetS60. In my opinion, the most useful feature of TweetS60 (& Pro) missing in every other application, is the ability to insert, and shorten, URL's from your S60 browser bookmarks.

The joint-runner-up, J1ck.tweet, was the biggest surprise to me. This is a free, Java-based application, which in the words of Jon Beltran de Heredia from the J1ck team:

"Our goal is to make the Twitter client "for the rest of us", that is, basic and simple, so that anyone can use it without even an explanation. It will fall short for power-users, but that's not our target segment (our goal is to make mobile web apps for everyone). We'll let others fight for the title of "most complete Twitter app", but we'll definitely strive to be "the Twitter app you'd install on your mom's phone"

They certainly succeed with this objective. I would recommend J1ck.tweet to anyone who is graduating from the mobile Twitter site to using a dedicated application. Particularly so because it models itself closely to the mobile site's design. J1ck.tweet is at version 1.0, and has yet to mature. Version 2.0 is due out soon, which might have put J1ck.tweet into third place.

An interesting observation from this review is that only three Twitter applications support deleting tweets. Given the short-attention span nature of Twitter, it can be tempting to relax into the habit of tweeting without proof reading, In which case, the whole world gets to see your typing errors! Having a delete function is a much welcome feature to cover up your typographical misdemeanours!

Comparing the relative value of applications, it is clear that Gravity is worth the money, having almost every feature you can think of. However, I think it is difficult to justify the cost of Twittix when its closest competitor, TweetS60 Pro is a quarter of the price, and there are so many more features available for the additional cost of Gravity.

If you want a dedicated Twitter application, you can't go far wrong with any of the top six, half of which are free. If you are just starting out in the world of Twitter applications I recommend you start with one of the free applications until you find your feet and understand what all the features are and get a better idea of how you'll use them.

David.R.Gilson, for, 26th January 2010
You can find me at my blog and on twitter, @davidgilson.

Update, 4th February 2010

This survey has now been expanded to cover seventeen Twitter applications and can be found here.