Yesterday Panoramic Software quietly released their new Twitter application, moTweets. As the name implies this is an application for Windows Mobile/Phone devices.
moTweets allows you to Twitter on the go while utilizing the powerful features of your Windows Mobile phone. Users will be able to upload photos taken from their device’s camera or post their location using the built in GPS. Other notable features include: support for multiple Twitter accounts, custom skins, a finger pressable interface and integration with TinyURL!™.
Using its Windows Mobile advertising engine, Panoramic Software Inc. delivers moTweets as a free, ad-supported application. A paid version is also available without advertising.
Thanks to Patrick @ Panoramic Software I received a beta copy of moTweets about three weeks ago. The final version was released yesterday, and has already been updated to version 1.1. Testing this one has been a great process and a privilege to have input into what feels like an application that has been personalised to my needs.
I realise that Twitter is a take it or leave it service for a lot of people, and whether you use it for a selective instant messaging service, or are utilising it as a super RSS feed, interspersed with bouts of conversation, humour and just plain interesting stuff, there are probably three things I think a good Twitter application needs to do well. The major function of twitter is quick communication, in a short/concise language format. Twitter exploits three functions that make it work effectively, status update, reply, and retweet. So an application needs to let you skim and update the timeline quickly and with ease, reply to a message in as few steps as possible, and retweet in as few steps as possible. With those things in mind let’s see how moTweets works and fulfils the identified criteria.
moTweets comes with the typical windows .cab install, and a desktop install option. I tested both, and they were flawless. The app works equally as well installed to a storage card as on device, and with a footprint of only 600 Kb, as of the latest update, it still has a favourable impact on space. The impact on device RAM is minimal as well, using 1700 Kb of Ram.
That sort of memory usage is very consistent, and it’s nothing to have it running with a browser open, [Opera Beta 9.7] so you can read links people are posting in real time. That’s a win there as well, and much more like a desktop experience.
As with any application that utilises your mobile’s data connection, you really want to be able to limit or delimit at will depending on your budget, and data plan. As well as meeting your Twittering needs, moTweets offers a good selection of setting and controls for all of your Tweeting needs.
The penultimate/most important setting for the whole application is the auto refresh. I have it set to one minute in the screen shot above, but that’s while I’m using it connected to a PC, and updating through activesync. You are offerd a wide range of options though.
You can even turn auto updates off, which allows you to manually refresh at will. Also notable, the auto refresh does not apply if the backlight has turned off on your device, or if moTweets is in the background.
moTweets supports English, Spanish and French, and comes with two preinstalled skins. You can see the sleek blue skin above, and the grey skin below. I’m sure some of the more adept of you out there will be adding your own skins to moTweets in no time
Two of the more contentious settings, that I thought should by default be off, were device notifications of updates via sound and vibrate. Why is it that people imagine the sound of a tweet to be a shrill high pitched sound, that will make you jump out of your boots? Other than this annoyance factor, these options both consume extra battery power, thus, inadvertently reducing your device’s operating time.
Other options let you allow how many tweets you download, whether you see a screen name or full name, the size of the timeline view and most important for the finger friendly interface, the quick buttons.
MoTweets is optimised for touch screen devices, but is completely D-Pad friendly as well. It has a comprehensive multi level menu system, that takes a bit of getting around and time to get used to. For instance the word balloon in the top left reveals these options.
The tweet balloon allows you to add a picture from your devices camera, a picture from a file, shorten a link or post your location.
Other options allow you to organize Tweets by:
- trending posters
- general timeline of everyone on Twitter
- mentions, every time your user name is mentioned in a tweet
- favourites, things you read that you wanted to remember
- inbox, direct messages you have received or sent
- people you are following and your followers.
All pretty simple, really.
It become second nature after a while, and there are sub menus that offer other options from the main screen using the finger friendly interface. A double tap on any post will bring up a sub menu offering you all of the options available to the elements in that post.
So a single post that has lots of links in it is fully covered in one sub menu, this really cuts down on search times. This is like TweetDeck for Windows Mobile, sans the filtering, and the memory problems.
Although there seem to be a lot of features, and it might seem a bit complicated moTweets really does what I want from a Twitter application, all from its front page. That’s where the quick buttons come in. Panoramic have gone all out to give a really sensitive kinetic scrolling feature, that doesn’t scroll, meaning you can swipe as fast or as slow as you like. When it gets to the top, or the end of the latest update there is no more. No revolving scrolling to take you back to updates you downloaded fifteen minutes ago that you have already viewed. You get a great application that is stable, and is usable from one interface without pulling out a stylus.
The Rt, @ and Favourite buttons, are all finger friendly and allow for one touch access to these functions, without leaving your timeline view. Let’s face it, that is all that I want from a good Twitter app, and moTweets offers so much more, I’m delighted, surprised and happy to have been part of the development of this app [the whinging beta tester]. If you aren’t into Twitter, you need to have a look at this application, just to experience some of the great interface things Panoramic have done, on the finger friendly side. If you are into Twitter, this is a value add that you shouldn’t miss out on.