TwitBit: Better than Tweetie, Boxcar and TweetDeck on the iPhone

TwitBitLogoTwitBit [iTunes link] is a fantastic Twitter client on the iPhone. With dozens of apps from which to Tweet, competition is stiff. Moreover, once you find a Twitter client you like, it’s even harder to understand why you should switch.

TwitBit, a Twitter client from High Order Bit, has finally made me change my ways and delete Tweetie from my iPhone. And though TwitBit definitely lacks some key features of Tweetie, there’s one major reason why I am now using TwitBit instead of Tweetie: Push notifications.

Sure, with Tweetie, TweetDeck, Birdfeed, and others, you can get Boxcar (which is an app that provides you with great push notifications for your iphone) to supplement the app’s lack of push notifications. But that ends up being a pain-in-the-ass sometimes; your iPhone first sends you to Boxcar and then to another app when you want to @ reply or re-tweet a post. Instead, now when I unlock my phone after a push notification saying I’ve been @ replied, TwitBit opens up right away.

TwitBit has been around since August, and has a similar user experience to Tweetie. Both do a solid job with providing the right options to the user at the right time (for example, easily accessible options to DM or @ reply when you click on a person’s handle). Both look fairly similar and present your Tweet stream in a user-friendly manner. Most importantly, TwitBit has all the bells and whistles of Tweetie – geolocation, support for lists and trends, and solid search options. It also has the standard photo-uploading with the added benefit of Flickr integration.

IMG_0536All the praise aside, TwitBit has its downsides to Tweetie and I can see many users preferring Tweetie to TwitBit. I feel like TwitBit doesn’t update the stream as quickly as Tweetie, but it is a minor issue at most. TwitBit also doesn’t do geolocation nearly as well as Tweetie (sometimes it doesn’t even seem to work). Furthermore, TwitBit’s UI is damned similar to the standard iPhone UI, so there’s very little ingenuity there. Finally, and this may be a compelling reason to keep Tweetie+Boxcar for some, TwitBit doesn’t “save” a history of the tweets you’ve viewed like Tweetie does.

I won’t rigorously compare TweetDeck for iPhone (or any other iPhone Twitter client) to TwitBit here, except to say that TweetDeck on my iPhone 3G hardly works. It often crashes and the UI often gets distorted due to a bug. Though TweetDeck’s UI is absolutely fantastic (and the list support beyond any other iPhone app), it doesn’t matter if it isn’t a serviceable application.

At the end of the day, I care about a Twitter client that provides me with the basic features I need to tweet my heart out. And the one thing Tweetie, TweetDeck, and most other Twitter iPhone apps don’t have is Push. And that’s what sold me on TwitBit. I generally don’t use push; it’s so damned annoying and poorly designed. But there are two applications for which Push is practically a godsend: Twitter and IM.

I have push notifications whenever someone @’s me (@gaganbiyani in case you were wondering) and DM’s me. Because of those two features, Twitter has slowly started to replace e-mail and text for me. I compared TwitBit’s Push against Boxcar to test how well it worked (which, to my knowledge, is the best Twitter Push app on the iPhone). TwitBit was at most 30 seconds to 2 minutes late, but never significantly worse than that. That’s really solid, considering that TwitBit is a full-fledged iPhone app (unlike Boxcar) and now I replace two apps with one.