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Twitter Targeting Top Smartphone Platforms

Social networking service Twitter has made a number of interesting moves in the mobile space. It recently released a native Twitter application for the BlackBerry platform, bought an iPhone Twitter app and has now pledged to build a native Twitter app for Android.
Social networking service Twitter has made a number of interesting moves in the mobile space. It recently released a native Twitter application for the BlackBerry platform, bought an iPhone Twitter app and has now pledged to build a native Twitter app for Android.Twitter laid down some big news recently at its Chirp conference. The firm said that it has over 105 million users, and is adding new users at the rate of 300,000 per day. Twitter's servers are pinged 3 billion times per day. About 60% of Twitter's overall traffic comes from outside of the U.S., and 75% of it comes from third-party applications rather than through Twitter.com. That brings us to the importance of Twitter's recent moves in the smartphone space.

Last week Research In Motion introduced a beta version of its Twitter client. The client was built with APIs from Twitter that helped RIM make the best use of the Blackberry platform's existing strengths. Some of the features offered by this app include notifications of new tweets and @replies/mentions, support for Twitter lists, profile editing, app personalization, and more. The biggest strength will be support for RIM's push services. For Twitter to work so closely with RIM implies that it is serious about adoption by business users.

Next up, Twitter purchased AteBits, a small company that developed the Tweetie application for the iPhone and Mac OS X platforms. Tweetie 2 for iPhone, in particular, is one of the better Twitter applications to arise in the last six months. It cost $2.99 from the iPhone Apps Store. Twitter said it is going to rename application to Twitter for iPhone and make it free.

This week, Twitter announced that it is working on a native Twitter application for the Android platform. There are already a number of existing Twitter clients for Android, including Twitroid, Seesmic, Peep, and others. Twitter CEO Evan Williams said, "We realized we had to have a core experience on these major platforms just like we do on the web, otherwise we are failing users," he said.

That sentence speaks volumes about Twitters stance on mobility and how it plays a role in shaping users' experience with the service. Williams didn't say if the BlackBerry, iPhone and Android apps would eventually look and feel similar, or if they'll remain the way the are. That Twitter has realized it wants a base level of performance from the top smartphone platforms in the U.S. is good news for users, who hopefully will see improved capabilities and features of the mobile apps with which they tweet.

It will be interesting to see how Twitter handles other smartphone platforms, such as Windows Phone 7 and webOS. Will it take the same approach, or is it waiting for those platforms to gain some critical mass before devoting the necessary resources?

Either way, Twitter is serious about smartphones.