February 17, 2010

Apps Weekly: Tweetie 2 + Street Fighter IV

It's been quite a while since I've wanted to feature this app, and while I could always set this aside for another week in place of Plants vs. Zombies, which is a much more awesome Pop-Cap port than Peggle, I wanted to finally get to it so it won't have to bother me.

Tweetie 2

Twitter is a huge phenomenon, and like Facebook, developers are constantly churning applications for it left and right. While people can theoretically access the mobile websites for free, nothing beats the speed of a native app. But then you ask, "Why pay for an app that updates the status of a free service?"

When you see the interface and the thought that went into this app though, all those apprehensions will probably vanish.

First, you'll have to set up an account, which is only a matter of typing in the username and password. After that, you'll be able to add even more accounts and switch between them effortlessly.

When you access the username you put in, you'll naturally see the timeline first. Unlike other Twitter apps, though, the timeline scrolls buttery smooth and while it looks as if you can't really do much with the timeline, the app is really more than meets the eye.

In typical iPhone OS 3.0 fashion, scrolling further from the topmost part of the screen reveals a search bar, but when you scroll up further...

It becomes a smart way a refresh. It is in these smart, subtle touches that make using this app so enjoyable.

In addition to its refresh mechanism, Tweetie also gives you a "shortcut" to the core features you'll want to use (basically the things you'll probably do with a specific tweet), and you can access these by swiping a specific tweet from left to right (or the other way round if you prefer). From there, you can easily reply, see the links attached (if any), see the user profile of the person who posted the tweet, star a tweet for later viewing, or see even more features.

When you do press that button at the end, you'll see the options to Retweet (using Twitter's official Retweet feature), Quote Tweet (which reverts to the more traditional Retweet syntax), Post Link to Tweet (which enables you to tweet a link to the tweet you like instead of actually retweeting for a bit of a mystery in your tweet), of course, you can also E-Mail that Tweet, but if it's foreign, you can even Translate it which is very good.

The replies and Direct messages tabs behave as you'd expect, so let's move on to Search view.

Aside from the ability to search the entire public timeline, you can also search for people tweeting nearby. You can also save your Twitter searches to see if they've updated, especially considering the dynamic pace that Twitter goes in. Below is also the list of Trending Topics that you can see everyone buzzing about, and if you don't know just what the heck that hashtag or phrase means, you can see definitions courtesy of whatthetrend.com by pressing the tag icon in a trend.

The last row includes more features like the ability to visit your profile, see your favorite (or starred) tweets, go to the profile of a specific user, and most importantly, view your list of Drafts. Drafts are made if you decide to save a tweet as a draft, or if your iPhone or iPod isn't connected to the internet. However, these drafts aren't automatically sent to Twitter when you do get to connect. You'll have to send them by yourself.

Most of these screens have the Compose button readily placed on the upper-right side of the screen, and the compose screen is just clean and beautiful.

It looks deceptively basic. There's the character counter, and there's the keyboard. What about them? Well, when you press the character counter, you'll see some very good features.

You can take a picture or choose an existing picture to upload to Twitpic (video is an option if you have a 3GS), you can geotag a tweet so the location you're tweeting in can be viewed by people, you can view the list of friends and followers you have if you want to call them out (but you forgot their exact user name), you can also summon some saved hashtags and use them instead of manually typing them again and again, and you can lastly shrink the URLs you put them into bit.ly URLs, among others you can configure. However, to avoid overloading the refresh limit, Tweetie does not display your entire contact list, and the faces and names are only summoned on demand, meaning that if you view a tweet made by a person, that's only the time when a friend is added to the contact list.

So yeah, in addition to that, you can also read tweets in landscape mode.

Also, you can view individual tweets, as well as small thumbnails of the twitpics (or maps) they embed in URLs.

And have you seen the clean layout of the user profile pages?

I know, I know, I borrowed those last two screenshots from the iTunes Store, but one thing remains true: this app is stylishly functional. I use this app every day without fail, because I use Twitter a lot.

And this is the main determinant of a purchase. If you use Twitter at least moderately, you'll like this app. If you use Twitter rarely (or not at all), you definitely won't find much to do with this app, especially since it's paid you'll feel ripped off.

Now, I haven't even dipped into other features like Lists support (one of the first), a jagged line break that indicates a gap in time (to make your timeline less unwieldy), selective device notifications settings (per user), tweet blocking, spam reporting, and even services like Tweet Blocker, Follow Cost, Favstar.fm, and Overlapr. Hell, I don't even know half those Twitter services.

You can also view the tweets that you have retweeted, tweets that were retweeted by other, and your tweets, retweeted. Robust lists support also involves the ability to see the list of a person, the list of others that include a specific person, and lists of others that a person follows.

PHEW, that's a lot of jargon, but long story short, more hardcore (ie, neurotic) as well as power Twitter users will find much functionality with Tweetie 2, and while it doesn't offer the ability to cross post to Facebook and company, it sure does a hell of a great job for managing a Twitter account. Thing is, I would just like it so much better if the app were able to have a mechanism that scrolled to the last unread tweet, something the team is probably working on. And didn't I mention: the app remembers the position you were last in in the app?

Rating: 8.9/10

As for the app preview, well, we have a huge blockbuster title coming next month, and that's Street Fighter IV. Yes, read that 10 times.

In IGN's report, it says that Capcom is not going all-out with a dirty port, and instead they're taking months refining the control scheme, which is extremely essential for the app's success. The game also reportedly uses the real PS3/360 assets, only slightly scaled down, so yes, expect some exquisite character detail.

But here's the killer feature: bluetooth multiplayer. Okay, maybe online multiplayer would be more mind-blowing, but dude, it's Street Fighter. I think it's much better enjoyed with a friend.

It will include the revenge meter, and the special moves in their full animated glory. Frankly, I think this will be amazing.

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