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Quicker tweets with qTweeter

Kevin Harter

There's no shortage of Twitter apps in the App Store. Even more surprising is the number of GOOD apps that connect to the popular microblogging platform. I like each for a different reason: Tweetie has a clean user interface, TweetDeck offers multiple columns that sync with its desktop counterpart, and TwitterFon has ReadItLater integration. There are countless others that have unique features, and many of us end up with at least a couple on our iDevices.

But I have a new favorite, qTweeter, developed by the folks at Efiko Software. You won't find it in the App Store, though, because this app requires a jailbroken device. Multitasking isn't officially allowed (yet?) on the iPhone OS, yet qTweeter relies on this capability to perform its best trick.

Say you're checking the weather and want to tell everyone of the approaching hurricane. Normally, you would close your weather application, swipe through pages of apps, tap on and wait for your favorite Twitter client to open and load all of the tweets that you really don't care about right now, and finally type your warning to get the heck out of town. By the time you do all of that, the highway is going to be grid-locked with fleeing residents and you'll be stuck boarding up windows and sweeping up the debris!

Instead, you could have just "pulled" qTweeter down from the status bar, typed your tweet, and went back to the app still running in the background.

In fact, per the recent trend, you could have also posted that same message to your Facebook status with just a tap of a checkbox. It's a much quicker way to get your message out of your head and onto the Net, a fact that you'll appreciate as you get older and those thoughts become more fleeting.

You won't be able to browse friends' photos, do any searching, or find new people to follow. There are no timelines, no tag clouds, and no columns of tweets. You'll still want the Facebook app and a Twitter client or two (or six). qTweeter only sends tweets and Facebook status updates, but it does so with some very interesting features.

Since qTweeter works without exiting your current app, it lets you tweet the song you're listening to, a link to the web site you're on, or the YouTube video you're watching. It also has built-in support for TweetShrink, which uses texting-like shorthand to save characters, and "long tweets", to allow for tweets longer than the normal 140-character limit. And you can just double-tap the Twitter logo in qTweeter to open your favorite full-featured client such as those that I mentioned earlier.

Another intriguing feature qTweeter brings to the "Twitter Table" is the ability to send a photo or video clip link directly from the program. Don't have a video-capable 3GS? This app has you covered, too, as it will use Cycorder, another jailbreak-only app, to record the video and automatically switch back to qTweeter so you can put the finishing touches on your post.

There are a couple of improvements I'd like to see in an update. First, the positioning of the Send button is terrible. Those that follow me on Twitter (@TechDaddyK) know that I often misfire a tweet, and now you know the cause. As you tap a tweet, it's very easy to accidentally hit Send, especially when attempting to delete previous text. In apps included with your iDevice, such as Mail and Messages, the Send button is located above the keyboard or at the top of the screen where it is out of the way and makes room for a Return "key". My suggestion? There's a bunch of dead space directly below the user's avatar that would make a nice out-of-the-way home for a Send button.

The Quick Tweet button is one of the many great ideas in qTweeter, however, I would rather it work a little differently. While listening to a song via the iPod app, you can tap the Quick Tweet button in qTweeter to insert a shortened URL link to the song's Amazon's MP3 Downloads entry. Similarly, if you're viewing a web site in Mobile Safari and want to share it with the world, tapping Quick Tweet button does that. But, if you're doing both--listening to the iPod and surfing in Safari--the Quick Tweet button only inserts the music link. It would make more sense to bring up some sort of menu that allows you to choose which you'd like to share.

After a month or so of use, those are the only complaints that I could come up with about this app. qTweeter is a well thought out app that focuses on a problem that many potential users didn't even know they had. And it solves that problem quite well. qTweeter is available now in the Cydia Store for $4.99, and is well worth the price if you use Twitter or Facebook much at all.

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