The many flavors of Twitter

Twitter apps, widgets, and services make it easy to publish economical tweets from almost anywhere.


Pedestrians repeatedly thumbing their cell phones could be playing the latest mobile game, but it's just as likely they're microblogging addicts updating their Twitter accounts. Twitter's short-form service makes it ideal for two-sentence contributions from mobile phones, IM services, browsers, and desktop apps. Here are a few ultraconvenient third-party Twitter-updating apps.

From the phone

Twitter's mobile site,, offers simple cell phone tweeting, and it's easy to set Twitter updates to your phone or IM. But on a BlackBerry, nothing is simpler than updating your feed than TwitterBerry, a bare-bones app that nevertheless keeps you logged into your account and keeps data transfers low. Your friend feed looks good too, with above-average image rendering.

Call, IM, and Twitter from Fring.

Fring is an international dialing and IM service that includes Twitter as one of its network services that users can communicate with via Fring's interface. While the app isn't necessarily convenient for those uninterested in out-of-country calling, it sweetens the deal for those Twitterheads already looking for dialing deals. Fring has versions compatible with most handsets.

iPhone users can always visit Twitter's site directly, but they should also try out Twitter on Thin Cloud, which boasts enlarged buttons, a beatific interface complete with thumbnails, and optimization for EDGE.

From an online app

Track Twitter topics on Gmail.

Flock is a Web socializer's dream browser; so regarded by us CNET editors since it integrates Facebook, Flickr, and, yes, Twitter into an interactive side bar.

Constant Gmail and Gtalk users will want to know about Twitter tracking, which, once you've added Twitter as a contact, lets you track tweets on topics you specify. This is actually an extension of Twitter's service, but one that plays a role on Gmail's site.

From the desktop

Mac Twitterlings should take heed of Twitterrific, a sleek app with a short, scrolling interface for reading and publishing tweets. The free version serves ads hourly (though unobtrusively, it claims,) but for a $15 investment, your desktop twittering can be ad-free.

Flock integrates Twitter into its browser design.

A Windows widget, Twidget, comes courtesy of Yahoo's Widget Engine and provides a snappy way to update Twitter first thing, without waiting for your browser to launch.

If widgets are too limiting, desktop apps like Twitteroo offer more interaction and control. In addition to reading and submitting updates, users can enjoy customizing the app and reducing the browser's CPU usage through the client's only-occasional Web access.

Spaz (for Mac and Windows) and Snitter are two Twitter-enhancement apps built on Adobe's AIR platform (for Windows and Mac). These are desktop apps that founder Rafe Needleman has tried and liked for live Twittercasting.

Do you have a favorite Twitter companion? Share your preferences in the comments.

About Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.