I’ve spent the weekend testing a pre-release Beta version of Blackberry’s official Twitter application which is due to launch publically in the next month or so.

First impressions are excellent, this is a well integrated application which doesn’t show delays in loading, and has some very neat pop up integration within your messages list.

I’ve taken far too many screen shots to make this easy to explain, however hopefully they will give you some clear idea of what the application can, and importantly cannot do.

For me, this application has been a long time coming.  I started – like most Blackberry users – using Twitterberry.  However it’s a poor excuse for an application in this day and age.

I then moved to Yatca, which, for mine, is still the best and most integrated application you will find for Blackberry – however for most users it’s not an ‘Application’ as they know it, because it has very little UI – instead it has complete message list integration and to get the most from it you need to setup some filters and saved searches.

In terms of standard ‘looking’ applications I think TweetGenius from the Team at Boy Genius Report was the best UI, and worked really well – it also cost $ to buy.

I was fortunate enough to become part of the SocialScope Alpha testing program, and have been extremely satisfied with SocialScope all along.  Mainly because it gave me basic notifications, was very fast to load and use – PLUS it has good facebook inclusions (and I cannot use the Facebook App due to the IT Policy on my Blackberry).

So, here I am today with the official Blackberry Twitter application which has been out in the wild for a little while now, and for that reason has become much anticipated.

Let me make this simple.

What I like about it:

  • It loads fast, very fast. (UPDATE: The Application home loads fast, as do pop ups, but when opening a message (to click a link for example, its SLOW – I think because its loading more than JUST the message, its trying to tell me all about the user who posted it)
  • Will provide updates within your messages list (See dislikes for more info!)
  • I quite like the UI layout, and the amount of info shown on each user.
  • The Popular Topics – Current + Recent is well displayed, with recent showing as a ‘tag cloud’
  • In your messages folder you can MENU click and go TWITTER to get a simple popup to compose your message in
  • TwitPic’ing photos – you can do that from any photo menu, and the actual sending of the photo occurs pretty much in the background.
  • UPDATE: Battery life is EXCELLENT post install – this has been an issue with many twitter apps.  This is due to the push technology that RIM are able to implement to your handset

What I dislike:

  • I like seeing the twitter updates in my messages menu.  But the ‘you have new tweets’ is useless, of course I have new tweets; I am following over 100 people!
  • If I delete a Direct Message from my messages list – it gets deleted FROM TWITTER!  I don’t want it permanently deleted, I just want it ‘filed’ and removed from my messages list!
  • I get an email alerting me to a Direct Message before I get the direct message itself – this goes against the Blackberry Push philosophy as I see it.
  • UPDATE: I’m NOT getting PUSH Direct alerts – It’s just not happening in my message folder, unless I actually go into the Direct Messages icon within the app.  They appear in Message list if I have all alerts enabled – I just don’t want this!

What it needs to be a ‘Killer App’:

  • I need to see mentions – any @replies or mentions of me – I use twitter like a communication tool, make it an option to ‘Show Mentions in message list’ – that way directly from my inbox I can reply to people, thank people for mentions etc.
  • I need to see Direct Messages, AS they happen – so, like with Facebook integration, strip my incoming mail – convert such messages to direct messages themselves so they appear in my message list and invoke the application for all interaction with them. In options this should be ‘Integrate Direct Messages into Messages list’ or similar.
  • The ability to add a filter for the main message list – filter by topic or keyword then.

So, do I recommend you download this app? For sure, it’s going to blow Ubertwitter, Twitterberry and frankly the current version of TweetGenius right out of the water.  However, they can all catch up!

UPDATE: Register your interest in the app at http://na.blackberry.com/eng/devices/features/social/twitter.jsp – I suspect it will be available by Mid March.

Below are a large number of screenshots from my current trial of the Official Blackberry Twitter App – let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Your Twitter Icon when shown on your home screen

Main Tweet list showing your ‘home’ page – recent tweets from people you follow

Loading your @mentions

Showing your @mentions

Your Profile Page

Bottom half of your profile page

Direct Messages shown within the Twitter App

Search Twitter Users

Saved Searches and keyword search

Popular Topics – Current (loading)

Popular Topics – Current

Popular Topics – Recent – Tag Cloud

Menu within Blackberry Twitter App

Options Screen (top half)

Options Screen (bottom half)

Popup within App – Save Changes

Direct Messags shown within your Messages List

Notification of ‘new tweets’ – within your messages list

Mail Notification icon shown, having received email alert regarding a new direct messages.

Email notification of Direct Message – This is where the integration should show the message itself linked to the App

A Direct Message shown within the Message List

A Direct Message shown in a pop-up over your message list – instant reply facility available (v cool)

Reply, and SEND

Sent message shows in your message list also.

Menu options when Sending a Direct Message via Pop Up Windows

Viewing a direct message from your message window.

Delete Option for Direct Message

Compose menu – as you know it, except see the bottom

New TWITTER option added.

When choosing TWITTER, you then choose DIRECT or TWEET

Direct Tweet Chosen

Choosing Tweet:

Gives you a simple way to jump in and update your ‘status’

Uploading a Photo, image is re-sized and readied to upload

Add Status to go along with it.