Developer: Hootsuite
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★☆☆
Usability Rating: ★★½☆☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆

Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

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If you’re familiar with Twitter or indeed have an account yourself, it’s more than likely that you’ll know about or use Hootsuite. Hootsuite is a web-based service provided by Vancouver-based interactive agency Invoke Media, which unlike Twitter.com, provides tools to allow you to add schedules to your tweets. In the beginning, Twitter was seen as “instantaneous thoughts” .. meaning you didn’t think about what you were putting down beforehand, you just did it. Off the cuff, with not a care in the world.

Hootsuite destroys this “old” way of thinking, and instead replaces it with one which allows you to think about a tweet in advance, save it and then set it to be published at a later date. Yesterday, Hootsuite announced Hootsuite for iPhone, and as of now, it’s officially the first iPhone application to allow the scheduling of tweets. Set to hit in a few hours in the US, but already available in Europe, Hootsuite is a well designed version of the online interface we all know and love. In order to use the app though you’ll first need an account at Hootsuite.com. If you don’t already have one, you can create one straight from within the app. Once you’ve created an account, you’ll then have to add your Twitter account(s), and once that’s done you’re ready to roll. The main screen of Hootsuite is just like any other Twitter client. It has various options which allow you to see different sections of your Twitter account. These include: Home Feed (the global timeline of people you follow), Mentions, Direct Messages (Inbox), Direct Messages (Outbox), Sent Tweets (your stream) and Favorite Tweets (tweets you’ve favourited). Tapping any of these sections will display the information in a timeline-like view, similar to that of Tweetie. Talking of similar to Tweetie, remember Tweetie 2′s signature ‘swipe down to refresh’ timeline refresh mechanism? Well, Hootsuite for iPhone has that too. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not, but yeah.

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See the thing is, Hootsuite isn’t just for scheduling, it’s a basic Twitter client too. In my opinion, they should have left Hootsuite at scheduled tweets, because even though they’ve attempted to incorporate the basic functions of a Twitter client, it’s lacking. For one, it doesn’t show conversations. It doesn’t have landscape, and it’s probably not as customizable as many would of liked. On the plus side, it does incorporate the official re-tweet API, and you can burrow down into your timeline to singe tweets and single out options for these individual tweets.

Navigation within the app is simple but elegant. For example, entering ‘Mentions’ you can swipe right to enter ‘Direct Messages (Inbox),’ or swipe left for ‘Home Feed’. The position of where you are in the app is shown by a set of ‘homescreen-like’ dots, located just above the apps tab bar. Along the bottom you’ll find four tabs. These include: Streams, Stats, Search and Settings. Starting with Streams, this is the ‘main screen’ of HootSuite for iPhone, providing the sections we talked about above. Next though, is Stats. This is really nice. By default, Hootsuite uses it’s universal URL shortening service ‘Ow.ly’ to shorten links within tweets sent from the Hootsuite web interface .. and the iPhone app is no different. What’s great though is the app actually sniffs out Ow.ly URLs in your steam, and displays graphic-based stats based on the amount of clicks and ratings you got for that particular link. These stats include a graphic of clicks, total clicks, user ratings and the date that tweet was created. Something which I think every iPhone based Twitter client should incorporate in the future. It’s slick.

The search tab on the other hand allows you search for keywords, surf the current Twitter trending topics, as well see your recent searches. The settings tab allows you to modify your Hootsuite account details, as well as any Twitter accounts you have configured. You also have the option to send out various ‘Hootsuite Love’ tweets, expressing your love for the app, as well as send Feedback to the developers.

Hootsuite for iPhone could have been great, but with it’s intermittent crashing and basic Twitter client feature omissions, I can’t help but think it’s not worth it’s price, yet. That said, it is what it’s good at – scheduling tweets – and with that, its it’s own App Store first right there.

Summing up, in my opinion Hootsuite is for the general Twitter power user. For someone who cares about the content they publish to their stream daily, Hootsuite will allow you schedule when and how that happens. The best use of Hootsuite I can see is setting tweets up to publish when you’re away from or can’t access your usual Twitter client. When you’re asleep, for example.

But, I really think this was intended to be used alongside your favourite client, rather than become a stand-alone client itself. Currently, it won’t stand up to something like Tweetie. To be frank, it’s just too buggy! Hopefully we’ll see an update shortly, as I think the potential this had is just great.

Posted in: iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews, Social Networking

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