The Twitter service with the cutesy raccoon mascot is making a new home on BlackBerry and Google Android phones. The free Seesmic, like its proliferate rivals, lets you read, manage, and compose Twitter messages much more flexibly than you can do from Twitter's Web site. We crash-tested both mobile versions as soon as we heard the news.
Seesmic on Android
Seesmic 1.0 for Android is available from the Android Market app, which is located on the smartphone. It takes up just over 1MB. The interface spreads four tabs along the top in both landscape and portrait mode, one each for the timeline, replies, direct messages, and your profile. There's also a ribbon on the screen that you can tap to refresh the feed. Click to open a tweet and you can save it as a favorite, retweet, or reply as a public "@" message or as a private posting. From the menu button, you can refresh, compose, or tinker with the settings.
Although Seesmic's Android interface is much more stripped down than its desktop AIR app for Windows and Mac, the app manages to remain flexible by giving you a choice over the kinds of notifications you'd like to receive, and over the partner services you'd prefer to use to send a photo, video, or shorten a URL.
The biggest flaws we've noticed so far? Seesmic only seems to support a single user account, and composing a new tweet doesn't trigger the virtual keyboard while in portrait mode. We didn't notice crashes or hangups up front, but the Android app somehow paired my test tweet in the timeline with CNET blogger Don Reisinger's (@donreisinger) face. Whoops. Thankfully, my actual profile picture showed up when I checked Twitter elsewhere, including Seesmic on the desktop and on the BlackBerry.
Seesmic on BlackBerry
We're sorry to say, but the brawny, visually styling Seesmic we're accustomed to all but shrivels on BlackBerry. We know, we know, it's a beta product and is sure to have some flaws that developers can come back to later. But we weren't expecting this skeletal display. The friends timeline is front and center, but without the tabs found in the Android version, you do everything--from compose a new tweet, retweet, and search Twitter, to check replies and messages--from the Menu key.
It's true that launching every Twitter task within the menu simplifies the app by keeping you from hunting through tabs and menus for tools. In addition, the more established UberTwitter app works almost exactly the same way, though we prefer the way UberTwitter flags and download photos for fast viewing. UberTwitter's hyperlinking to tweeted URLs also scores higher in our snap-judgment comparison than Seesmic's new app.
The settings are skimpier, too, in the BlackBerry version compared with Seesmic's Android app. You can't choose a URL shortening service, for example. You can, however, shorten URLs and send pictures, and view Twitter lists that you've created on Twitter.com. As far as we can tell, you cannot manage multiple accounts yet, or get notifications.
Seesmic is in version 1.0.6 beta for BlackBerry devices running operating system 4.6 and up and is in alpha version for the Storm and Storm 2. You can give it a whirl by picking your download file from www.seesmic.com, from the BlackBerry browser. The app clocked in at about 172KB on our Bold 9700 test device.