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In an age of juggernaut smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android-powered devices, Research In Motion’s (RIM) relatively fledgling foray into the mainstream consumer market sees them still battling for consumer mindshare as a general purpose smartphone maker.
With that said, RIM’s long-time darling smartphone of the business world, the Blackberry, has come a long way since its conservative suit-and-tie beginnings.
With consumer-oriented advertising, user interface improvements, touch screen – and budget devices, RIM are clearly making a push for the mainstream consumer market. The yet-to-be released OS6, is poised to be Blackberry’s most consumer-oriented operating system yet.
A great mainstream consumer smartphone has excellent social media integration and applications. One such social media service, Twitter, has become a prominent yardstick for measuring a smartphone’s social media street cred. With many available third-party Twitter applications and even RIM’s own “Twitter For Blackberry”, it’s clear that Blackberry is serious about social.
Here then, are seven top Twitter clients for BlackBerry:
1. Socialscope Lite
The Good: Socialscope has an excellent mix of form and function. More of a social media aggregator, it includes a fully featured Twitter client, and also basic Facebook, Flickr and Foursquare integration. It features a beautiful, intuitive user interface and an extensive feature set for Twitter. On top of everything else, Socialscope Lite is available as a free download to users that are part of the beta testing program.
The Bad: Socialscope is currently in closed beta status. After signing up for an invite, it’s not uncommon for applicants to wait several months before being allowed into the beta testing program.
The Good: The extremely popular UberTwitter is considered to be the Swiss army knife of Blackberry Twitter clients. It’s aimed at power users and has more features than you can shake a stick at. The look and feel of the application has also improved a lot since its beginnings. The ad-supported version is free and the paid subscription version will set you back $4.99 a year.
The Bad: The user interface is slightly clunky with most of the application options presented in one large (40+ options) list. A sub-menu approach could work better here. Also, the first time you run the application, you are subjected to 25 steps for tweaking your Twitter experience. Perhaps an option for a simplified or advanced setup could save some time.
3. Twitter for Blackberry
The Good: The official Twitter application for Blackberry took a while to arrive on the scene. When it finally did however, it became popular very quickly, with users opting to abandon third-party Twitter applications in favour of RIM’s official offering. The application offers close integration with the Blackberry operating system and features a great user interface and good feature set.
The Bad: Third-party Twitter clients have set the bar pretty high in terms of their feature sets, and one can’t help but feel that Twitter for Blackberry is slightly lagging behind.
The Good: TweetGenius was the first Twitter client for Blackberry to focus on design and ease of use. It has a gorgeous user interface and great feature set. Backed by Boy Genius from The Boy Genius Report, it created quite a stir when it first launched. The beautiful design and animated screen transitions were a breath of fresh air to the rather dull interfaces of its competitors.
The Bad: It’s a paid-only application and costs $7.99 which is the most of any Twitter application available on Blackberry devices.
The Good: Seesmic offers a minimalist, clean interface that is inspired by Blackberry’s own native applications. It doesn’t take up much system memory and battery power, so it might be good for you if you are addicted to checking your timeline obsessively. Seesmic is a free application.
The Bad: The feature set is very basic and although the interface is intentionally simple, one can’t help feel that it’s slightly lacking in the design department.
The Good. This is a fun and colourful application. From the colour scheme to the startup animation, TwiXtreme sets itself apart from the rest by being playful and fun. It offers a good feature set despite its whimsical demeanor and the user interface feels well rounded, intuitive and responsive. TwiXtreme is a free application.
The Bad. The feature set is not as extensive as some of the other clients and the cartoon theme, might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
The Good. Vlingo gives you the freedom to speak to your BlackBerry in place of typing. You can update your Twitter status by simply dictating your status updates verbally.
The Bad. Vlingo allows you to only update your Twitter status and nothing else. It’s not aimed at being a full featured Twitter client, but even so, it works so well that one is left wishing for more functionality.