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Tweet Push – Push Notifications For Twitter

Tweet Push from Polar Bear Farm is yet another iPhone app designed to take advantage of Apple’s new push notification system and deliver your Twitter direct messages and @mentions to your iPhone with a pop-up message and sound, within two minutes of the message having been sent.

Tweet Push is not a full-featured Twitter app in itself, rather it is a middle-ware app, simply providing the push notification system to your Twitter app of choice. At the time of this writing, Tweet Push supports the four most popular Twitter apps: Twitterrific, Tweetie, Twittelator, and TwitterFon. Upon receiving a push notification, Tweet Push will launch whichever Twitter app you’ve selected in the app’s settings. Unfortunately, Tweet Push doesn’t automatically take you to the exact DM or @mention; you still have to navigate the Twitter app’s interface to the proper screen to view the new message.

You can choose whether to receive push notifications for direct messages and mentions separately, which might be a nice feature for some people.

Unlike other Twitter push notification apps currently on the app store, Polar Bear Farm has taken a unique route of creating a subscription-based system for managing their push service. While a continuing cost-based app will most certainly be a deal-breaker for many, I encourage you to pause for just a moment and think about it.

Polar Bear Farm has invested in significant infrastructure to be able to provide these push notifications on a very timely schedule. This infrastructure will have ongoing costs. In order to provide a high-quality end user experience, PBF has chosen to charge a very minimal subscription cost to the user in order to offset their recurring costs.

The current rates for Tweet Push (which use Apple’s new in-app purchase system) are $0.99 per 30 days, with the first 30 days included in the cost of the app. In other words, with the purchase of Tweet Push, you have a month to try it out with no other costs to see how it works for you. If you wish to continue using it after 30 days, you will have to purchase credits.

Tweet Push also offers several premium features that the other Twitter push apps don’t that set it apart. As part of the app’s setup, you will create an account on Polar Bear Farm’s website. After creating your account, you will be able to login and control various aspects of the push notifications, including interval, show or hide the alert text, and change the alert sound, among others.

Personally, I have no problem paying for a service that provides a valuable functionality, as long as I am getting what I’m paying for. If PBF can maintain an infrastructure to continue to push each DM and @mention within 2 minutes to my iPhone, and the app works with the Twitter app I want to use (currently TwitterFon), I will have no problem ponying up about $12.00/year for the service. The nice thing about their subscription service is the ability to buy credits 30 days at a time, without paying any more than if you purchased 4 months at once. If you buy a 30 day subscription, and then the app just isn’t performing to your expectations, you’re under no further obligation to continue using it, and you’ve only spent $0.99 plus the cost of the app – less than the cost of a latte!

So how has Tweet Push been working for me? In the last two days I’ve been using it, I have noticed a few mentions that did not get pushed to my phone. This tended to happen if I received many mentions all in a very short time, for example I received about 8 mentions in a span of 2 minutes. Tweet Push alerted me to the first mention, and then to the second to last, but missed all the rest. When the mentions and direct messages are spaced apart by at least a minute or so, Tweet Push alerts me to each one very quickly.

Tweet Push’s main competition is another app I just recently reviewed, Boxcar., which I personally like very much as well. Boxcar, however, doesn’t currently support TwitterFon Pro, which is currently my Twitter app of choice. When Boxcar is updated to support additional Twitter apps, including TwitterFon, I may be torn between Boxcar and Tweet Push. At that time, the continuing subscription model may be Tweet Push’s nail in the coffin. But only time will tell whether Polar Bear Farm can provide a premium service that users are willing to pay a continuing cost to use.

Tweet Push is definitely on my list of top apps. If you’re looking for an app to push your Twitter notifications, and you prefer to use TwitterFon or Twittelator, Tweet Push is the way to go. If you’re using Tweetie or Twitterrific, the choice becomes harder, as Boxcar provides similar features with no on-going cost, though the initial cost of the app is higher. At that point, it comes down to how much control do you want over your push notifications? Tweet Push offers much more control over when and how notifications are pushed to your iPhone.

Decisions, decisions! What do you think about a subscription-based model for push notifications? Would it be worth it to you? I’d love to get your feedback on this. Sound off in the comments!

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