Twinkle & Twitterific.

   18 July 2008, early morning

I was using Twinkle on my old iPhone to check twitter as it worked a fair bit better than MobileTwitterrific at the time. MobileTwitterrific development looked to have stopped fairly early on, because Iconfactory planned to work on a version that used the official SDK. (Since I didn’t have a proper data-plan, I barely used either application, opting instead to use SMS to send and receive updates.) When the official AppStore launched, Twitterrific was featured front and centre, while Twinkle was nowhere to be seen.

Twitterrific on the iPhone is quite nice. The UI looks really good, and it would work quite well if not for the fact the whole application is kind of sluggish. The application takes a few seconds too many to load, and things don’t improve much from there. Craig Hockenberry is aware of these issues, and laments the state of application development on the iPhone. I like Twitterific, I just wish it ran ever so slightly faster.

Laurence announced yesterday that Twinkle was up on the AppStore. It works quite well. It’s definitely a lot snappier than Twitterrific. I like the iChat-eseque chat bubbles, but I can’t say i’m a fan of the starry-sky theme the application sports. Twinkle has a neat feature where it pulls in messages from people who are “near” you, using the iPhones location services to figure out where you are. Another interesting part of the application is that it looks to be a client for its own messaging service: it just happens to sync up with Twitter.

Then I said, what’s the one thing that sucks most about Twitter? That would be Twitter, unreliable thing that it is. So, Twinkle uses the Tapulous network to move messages around agnostic of Twitter. It is at once a Twitter client, and a Twitter replacement. It may not be the holy grail of social messaging micro-blog buzzword-compliant two-collar douche bag technology, but it’s free. — Mike Lee, the developer of the application.

What sort of impact this will have remains to be seen. (Update: Just messaged someone who isn’t on Twitter. The message shows up within Twinkle, but not on Twitter.) Twinkle isn’t all candy and pixie dust. I like the integration between TwitPic and Twitterrific. Twinkle lets you attach photos to your messages, but I’m not a fan of the site that serves them up.

Both applications are quite nice, but at this time I think Twinkle has the edge. Twinkle is free, while Twitterrific is ad-supported, which makes Twinkle all the more attractive.

Update: Re-read the quote above from Mike Lee, and then read this twitter message from Laurence. Twinkle was down for a few hours today. Twitter was not. You shouldn’t jinx yourself in blog posts.

Update Jul 31st: I’ve been using both now back and forth since I wrote this post. Twitterrific is actually very well put together, and my initial write up doesn’t really capture that. Yes, the application is slow, but it has lots of well thought out UI ideas that make the application work well. It is very easy to send direct messages or replies for example. Everything can be done from the same list screen for the most part. Twinkle has you cycle from page to page to do different tasks, which I’m not as big a fan of. As before, I still think Twinkle has the edge because of its speed, but if Twitterrific ever sorts that out, I am pretty sure it would be the application I use full time.

Update Sep 8th: Twitterriffic released a 1.1 update a few days ago, which addressed most of my complaints. I ended up buying the premium version I liked it so much. I’ve basically stopped using Twinkle at this point.

Update Mar 17th: I use Tweetie exclusively now. Tweetie is by far the best twitter client for the iPhone.



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