Echofon Pro (formerly TwitterFon Pro), the premium version of the popular iPhone Twitter client, was just recently updated to version 2.1, which among an odd name change, also introduces push notifications without the need for a third-party app (ie. Boxcar, TweetPush), and unread tweet syncing with Echofon for Firefox (formerly TwitterFox) and the not-yet-released Echofon for Mac.
Version 2.0 was a major upgrade back in July, and we’ve been waiting for built-in push notifications since then. However, I am quite disappointed with the current implementation naan studio has decided to go with. The push notification alerts are severely delayed, the process to register the app with a Twitter account (using oAuth) is cumbersome, and the sound effects are unimpressive and rather annoying.
Echofon Pro’s push notification server checks Twitter for new Direct Messages and Mentions once every 15 minutes. Like myself, many of you receive more than a single Twitter message in a 15 minute period, however because Echofon only checks for new messages at that interval, the push alert simply tells me I’ve “received 6 Twitter messages.” It doesn’t tell me who the messages are from or any other detail about them.
This is less than useful. I can’t make the decision about whether I need to respond immediately or I can let it go for a while. Most other Twitter push apps, such as my current favorite Boxcar, push an alert to my iPhone within a minute or two, sending an individual alert for each message with the sender’s name and preview of the message, which allows me to more effectively manage my responses.
Echofon now also syncs unread Twitter messages with their Firefox add-on, Echofon for Firefox (formerly called TwitterFox), and the yet-to-be-released application Echofon for Mac. I’m unimpressed with the Firefox add-on, as it seems less usable than all other standalone Twitter apps I’ve used so far, such as Tweetie for Mac and Twirl. Perhaps that’s the point of a web-browser add-on, but I don’t find it very useful. It remains to be seen how Echofon for Mac will fare.
Echofon’s push notifications are only available with the Pro version, which costs $4.99 in the US App Store. While I definitely think adding built-in push support to the top Twitter apps is long overdue, I don’t think Echofon’s implementation is enough for me to recommend the app just for that.
While I do indeed like Echofon and use it an equal amount as I do Twitterrifc Premium, I think a better option would be to use the freebie version and put your money towards a much better push notification solution such as Boxcar which is only $2.99, or even iTweetReply which is only $2.99.
Both of these dedicated push apps integrates seamlessly with Echofon (both free and paid versions), and provide many more options to manage alerts, better sound effects, and more timely delivery of notifications. The upcoming Boxcar 2.0 even provides push notifications for Facebook and email accounts.
If you already own Twitterfon Pro, you might as well upgrade for free to the new Echofon Pro and try out the push notifications, and let us know what you think. If you are just using the free version, skip the upgrade and grab Boxcar or iTweetReply to get push alerts.
If you’re not a TwitterFon/Echofon user yet, and are perfectly happy with your current Twitter app, I find nothing in this upgrade compelling enough to recommend you make the switch. In fact, I’m still not sure it knocks Twitterrific Premium down as my favorite Twitter app. Though if you’re not receiving push alerts for Twitter, you’re missing out!