It can be argued that you can’t really be a true tweeter, until you have a smartphone.
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Therefore, with the BlackBerry being the most popular smartphone (don’t argue it, iPhone and Android users!), it’s important to find the right Twitter application for BlackBerry.
Until recently it could be argued that the options were pretty simple — it was either the application formerly known as Ubertwitter or Twitter for BlackBerry. However, when Twitter suddenly and most unexpectedly shut out some 20% of its market – the reported share of the Twitter market that Ubertwitter held – when it blocked Ubertwitter’s access for various terms of service violations. What followed was a fraught weekend for many including the likes of Lance Armstrong who tweeted:
However, the collective gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair of ‘CrackBerry’ addicts all turned out to be for no reason, when early Monday morning (SA time), Twitter announced that the newly christened UberSocial was acceptable. Self-appointed UberSocial defender, Eric Vice tweeted at the time of Ubersocial’s rebirth:
But just how true is that? Is it possible that those who were forced onto Twitter for BlackBerry from UberTwitter may have found a home there?
In the war of Ubersocial vs. Twitter for BlackBerry, which app comes out tops?
After 18 months of a highly successful open-beta testing, as UberTwitter, the first official version of UberSocial was finally released in December of 2010.
UberSocial gives you all the basics of web-based Twitter; uploading pictures using Plixi or MyPict; editing your profile; creating, subscribing to or editing lists. It even brokers a peace over one of Twitter’s oldest wars, “New ReTweet” vs “Original ReTweet” by giving the user the option to use either one of the two exclusively or choose each time when ReTweeting.
However, where UberSocial’s true brilliance lies is not in how seamlessly it gives you everything you would expect from web based Twitter; its brilliance is that it gives you more.
For those who choose to use the accursed +140 characters services, UberSocial gives you that option with either Twitlongeror TMI.me. Alternatively, if you’re still beholden to the pull of Mark Zuckerberg, you can update your Facebook status, setting each to tweet to default send to Facebook or selecting which tweets to send to Facebook. Those are just two examples of the 12 basic options UberSocial gives you when you set it up. 12 options of varying usefulness to be sure, but options nonetheless. UberSocial understands that it is almost certainly always better to drown your user with options than to force them to use a bland generic product.
Twitter for BlackBerry
Twitter for Blackberry, the official BlackBerry application developed by Research In Motion (RIM) working in conjunction with Twitter was released to not much fanfare in May of 2010. The fanfare was not needed. The application was preloaded on new BlackBerrys and automatically uploaded to BlackBerrys already in service, and it quickly became one of the most popular Twitter applications on the BlackBerry.
From the smallest of things, it is able to jump you to the most recent tweet regardless where you are on the timeline when you refresh. This is the closet representation on the BlackBerry of the web Twitter experience.
Whilst the initial offering was not all too well received, with even the most basic functions not being available to users, RIM was quick to make upgrades on its application. As it stands now, Twitter for BlackBerry provides you with all the basic functionalities of web based Twitter, and like UberSocial, much much more.
However, considering that Twitter for BlackBerry has the full force of Twitter and RIM behind it, and the bonus of knowledge gained by previous applications to see what works and doesn’t for users, one can’t help but still feel underwhelmed by the offering. Whether it’s the aforementioned timeline issue, or how each ‘page’ when you click over to it has to be refreshed individually, somehow against UberSocial, Twitter for BlackBerry just doesn’t measure up.
To the 2.4-million users of UberSocial, it’s clearly a winner.
However, there is one thing one that must be conceded to Twitter for BlackBerry. In a highly unscientific poll of non-BlackBerry tweeters, they all found that of the two, Twitter for Blackberry was the easier to use.
Perhaps UberSocial has lost the main plot of a good application; simplicity. Loyalty to a product will only take it so far, and if new users find the product too difficult to use, with a simpler yet similar product only a few thumb clicks away, that certainly doesn’t bode well for their future.