Twitter Dec. 3 introduced a mobile Website that provides a richer experience for users of Apple’s iPhone and smartphones based on Google’s Android operating system, among others.
To this point, people have accessed Twitter from their smartphones via m.twitter.com, the original mobile site. But this site merely allows users to tweet and read the tweets of those they follow.
Rechis and his team used the Twitter APIs to build a richer mobile Web client that works best on WebKit browsers, which come installed on iPhone, Android, Nokia S60 and Palm Web OS smartphones. BlackBerry phones will work too, but Rechis said the new mobile Twitter is a bit rough for this platform.
Users can access the new mobile Twitter by navigating to mobile.twitter.com. TechCrunch posts the side-by-side comparison of the old and new mobile Twitter sites here. As you can see, the new Twitter mobile looks a lot more like the desktop version of Twitter than the original. Users can tap their touch screens to access their Twitter homepages, mentions, favorites and direct messages.
eWEEK tried it on a Motorola Droid. The Fail Whale was in effect for the first 5 minutes of trying to access the site, but eventually the experience was akin to using Twitter on the mobile phone for the first time again.
Users can mark tweets as favorites, retweet and even see what tweet they are replying to under the message composition box. Profile pictures appear next to users’ tweets, and trending topics are available at the bottom of the mobile Twitter page (instead of on the right-hand rail as in Twitter’s desktop client).
One big missing feature, as ReadWriteWeb noted, was the lack of support for Twitter Lists. This is a problem because many power Twitter users, the majority of whom we might rightfully expect are accessing Twitter from a smartphone, live in their Lists, which provide sanctuaries from the masses of followers. At least, that’s a major purpose they serve for popular Twitterers.
This Twitter mobile is still a preview beta. Twitter users can still access their Twitter content from the m.twitter.com site if they find they are more comfortable with it after trying the new Twitter mobile. But don’t get too comfortable.
“As this preview becomes ready for prime time, we will start switching everyone who uses ‘m’ in phases to automatically receive the new mobile Web client,” Rechis said.
Net-net, this is a nice, welcome step in the evolution of the microblogging service, which was forged with mobile use in mind.