Business Handset | Personal Playing
In the last 15 years, the BlackBerry brand has gone from being a range of pagers from Research In Motion to a re-branded company offering the latest in smartphone handsets. The latest BlackBerry 10 handsets such as the Z10, the Q10 and soon the Q5 are in the hands of the technologically savvy with their personal, business and brand Twitter accounts as well as much more. App Developers have seized on this and a massive range of business and pleasure applications are available on the BlackBerry World.
Today, we are going to take a look at some of the best and worst Twitter applications for the BlackBerry 10 range of handsets. I have been using the Z10 handset since the day it was released, I have installed some of the best (and worst) Twitter applications that take the social media website that one step further; and far beyond what is offered as default by BlackBerry themselves.
Twitter for BlackBerry 10
It's Getting Better
The look and feel of the Twitter application is very similar to it's mobile website. I find the interface quite easy to use and I now use it as my daily driver for my BlackBerry when I am on the move or even just sat in the lounge watching TV. The more useful features of Twitter are available on the application including photo taking and/or uploading, adding locations and the usual re-tweeting/quoting/replying.
You MUST Have Twitter Installed
Something which really does bugbear me though on the BlackBerry 10 devices is that you must have Twitter, Facebook and all the other major social network players installed. Whether this is dependent on your service provider is not clear, but each time you delete the app it will re-appear when your phone automatically "updates".
The best solution I have seen to limit this is simply to load the apps you don't want to see into a folder which I named Bloatware.
At the moment I am using Blaq again so that I can update my review - the following is based on use of the application up to December 2014.
This is an app that offers you real-time streaming of your social media feed when you have it open and a choice of update frequencies when you have it minimised as an active frame. There are very few mobile Twitter apps that offer that at the moment, including many of the enterprised focussed offerings like Hootsuite.
The developer has made good use of new BlackBerry 10 features such as it's swipe gestures. Your single main screen is your accounts live stream but a simple swipe to the right brings up your detail menu including your favourites, mentions and Direct Messages using simple to understand icons; a star, the @ symbol and an envelope.
Almost every feature of Twitter is available on Blaq. You can update your profile and mugshot as well as translate Tweets if you are trying to be multi-national and mute someone if they are being a bit obnoxious. You can also now schedule your updates from within the Blaq interface, something first started by HootSuite some time ago.
One problem that Blaq is on the way to solving is how it handles you being away from your handset. So far it is only working in real-time while you have it open as an Active Frame which from my experience means that it gets a bit duff once the screen sleeps to save precious batter power. One way which you can get around this is by taping the time bar (shown as a green bar at the top on the image) and this fasts forwards you to the most recent posts.
It has however - in my opinion - started to slow down in terms of the speed of loading and delivery; profile pages take longer to load, real-time streaming has become a bit more of a bulk update every 30 seconds or so. This might of course be something that it just because of the amount of junk on my handset, or it could be something that is being looked at.
When you first load up Neatly and when you go to add new user accounts the process is as easy as authorizing any new app to your Twitter account. I now have 3 accounts registered and it allows you to switch between them.
If you regularly switch between accounts during the day though you might find the GUI clunky and requiring a software reboot at each switch. Indeed when I am running the software from 3G either I become impatient or the software has difficulty loading because I have to reboot several times to get anywhere.
I have also found that when you start up Neatly, or when you switch accounts, tweets have trouble keeping a hold of their timestamps. I can read through the last few hours of tweets on an account and they randomly say they are a day old or more. There is no real explanation for that as the Twitter API offers the time of posts as well as the content.
There are two rare features that might appeal to persistent Twitter fans though. The first is the Custom Feed which is exactly as it says on the tin; you can choose what users tweets you can see on this feed and even down to the types of Tweet you can see such as those with pictures or with URL's.
The other is your Smart Feed and this is where the intelligence of the Neatly software comes into play. It will not simply offer you a timeline, but one based on what you usually read; so your Timeline is not even likely to be in a chronological order if you make a point of read all the tweets from a single user.
Neatly also takes a new approach to user profiles; giving you masses of new information about your effectiveness as a business or just how many RT's you have received recently.
For the more experienced user you can think about side-loading Android applications to your BlackBerry 10 devices. If you are a fan of the HootSuite social media dashboard then it is possible to use your Windows PC to install it. Being a HootSuite user on the PC and my Android tablet I tried this but found that the responsiveness of the interface is intermittant.
Apps that "Also Ran"
I have also been testing out a number of other social media dashboards and apps on BlackBerry 10 that are notable at not being very good. I have found a few that are merely re-directs to the Twitter webpage or have some substantial flaws.
Firstly is a bit of a brave experiment and even the developers acknoledge that the intention is not to release a fully fledged Twitter app. Tweetian is quite possibly the first attempt that I know of to take the idea of "porting" an Android app to BlackBerry (as many have successfully done, including Skype) and do the same with a Symbian operating system app.
The developers, BB4 Software, admit that the idea is more of a proof-of-concept than actually releasing the app as a popular contender. The app itself has loaded on my device but I was never able to log into any of my Twitter accounts; whatever I try has the software hanging at the log in screen but others do report that it works.
Using the Twitter Mobile Site is also something which is okay if you have a single account, but it has nothing over the official Twitter for BlackBerry 10 app, so would you rather use the pre-loaded software first?
BlackBerry Can Only Improve
If you have your BlackBerry 10 smartphone then you will know how quickly both the operating system and the apps update right now. The developers are working hard for your few dollars so that you can have their latest program.
Personally I have gone with Blaq for my social media needs. Once it supports three Twitter accounts then that is all I will need for my tweeting-needs and then it would just be a case of finding that perfect Facebook replacement.
If you have a favourite BlackBerry 10 Twitter App then please let me know below. I don't just review free applications either; Blaq and Neatly are both cheap paid apps, so I will always review anything new here.
This Article Was Written For
The BlackBerry 10 Series
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I have found that the BlackBerry Z10 is a great phone but not without it's flaws. If you are familiar with an Android device and want to try something a little different then take a look at my article on the BlackBerry Z10 handset.