Five free ways to use Twitter on your mobile phone
INQ has rolled out its "Chat" and "Mini" social mobile phones, both of which have introduced Twitter functionality to the featureset of the handhelds. But what if you want to get on Twitter on your phone without having to buy a totally new handset?
Here's our recommendations for Twitter applications for whatever kind of phone you've got. We think we've covered all the bases, but if you've got a handset that we haven't covered, then drop a comment below and we'll see what we can find for you.
iPhone users are lucky enough to have a massive choice when it comes to Twitter. The app store is packed to the gills with applications, almost all of which begin with "Tw", for interacting with the microblogging site.
Our favourite is Twitterfon. A simple, intuitive UI, sensible update options, link-opening capabilities that don't close the client, useful user info display and rapid response times mean that Twitterfon is without comparison among the crop of free applications.
Although Android users tend to be arguably even more clued-in than iPhone users when it comes to social media, there's a surprising lack of Twitter apps in the Android store - we counted 16, with only 5 of those actually being worth a look.
The top choice for us is undeniably Twidroid. Like Tweetie, it has a great interface and big touch-friendly buttons, along with userinfo display and other nice touches. It also has auto-completion of names, native url-shortening, an SSL option, and identi.ca support.
While Android and iPhone users get a handy app store to find Twitter applications in, Symbian users don't have it so lucky. Twibble is a popular choice, and Gravity gets an honourable mention (though costs to use after a week).
But in our humble opinion, you're best off using TweetS60. Because it's a native Symbian app - not Java - it's quick as lightning and works flawlessly in the OS. Just enter your username and password, and you're off.
URLs open as clickable links, and following people is as easy as just clicking their names in a tweet, but the most useful function is that it can constantly update in the background at intervals you set, so you're always up-to-date with something to read - even on the tube.
BlackBerry is the final major smartphone ecosystem to cover, and the devices' keypads lend themselves well to the sending of lots of short messages. The vast majority of BlackBerry Twitter users plump for TwitterBerry.
TwitterBerry's setup is quick and painless, and will automatically import the latest updates for you. TwitPic is integrated, so you can get images out with ease, and there's also the option to save data, so that it'll only load tweets that you haven't seen since your last update.
Other phones: Web interface/texts
Lastly, if you don't sit in one of the groups labelled above, you still have some options. The first, and easiest, is to use the Twitter website - twitter.com - to read and send Tweets. Sure, it doesn't have some of the fancy bells and whistles of the other offerings above, but do you really need those?
Alternatively, if you have a lot of free texts and not too many Twitter followers, or if you're on O2 or Vodafone - which offer their customers free Twitter SMS - then you might pick the text message option. Just set up your phone on the Twitter website, and select users to receive messages from.
Twitter has turned the mobile web from a cool concept enjoyed by one or two early adopters into a mainstream feature of many handsets.
Whatever your phone, there's a way of making it work with Twitter, so if you haven't given it a shot then sign up, find some interesting people and off you go. We'd suggest you start with the Pocket-lint team - @pocketlint, @stuartmiles, @christhall and @radioedit.
Bonus OS! Windows Mobile: Pocketwit
As commenter Martin points out, we cruelly overlooked Windows Mobile. For that platform, we'd give a nod to Pocketwit, which seems to get reviewed well, though Martin says he prefers the more simple Tiny Twitter. You should be able to find both easily through Google.